Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross, St Peter's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Claypole, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.0314 / 53°1'52"N

Longitude: -0.7405 / 0°44'25"W

OS Eastings: 484564.3125

OS Northings: 348974

OS Grid: SK845489

Mapcode National: GBR CM3.ZKS

Mapcode Global: WHFHX.L2MD

Entry Name: Churchyard cross, St Peter's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 13 October 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011798

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22664

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Claypole

Built-Up Area: Claypole

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Claypole North and South St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes a standing stone cross located in the churchyard of St
Peter's Church, Claypole, approximately 5m south east of the south transept.
The cross is of stepped form and is medieval and modern in date, having been
rebuilt as a war memorial. It is also Listed Grade II. The monument includes
the base, comprising two steps and a socket-stone, the shaft, knop and head.

The steps are square in plan and principally constructed of worn limestone
blocks resting on coursed modern brick. The lower step is about 1.6m square,
the upper about 0.95m square. The present form of the steps dates from the
early 20th century when the cross was restored as a war memorial, although
earlier fragments were reused. On the north side of the upper step is a
modern block with an inscription recording the restoration of the cross
following World War I. On this step stands the medieval socket-stone, of
octagonal section to a height of 0.25m and then tapering to an irregular top
with a moulded rim. The full height of the socket-stone is about 0.48m. Set
into the socket-stone is the shaft, about 0.18m square in section at the base
and composed of two stones of octagonal section. The lower stone is 0.75m in
height and is believed to represent a fragment of the medieval shaft; the
upper part of the shaft is 0.92m high and represents a modern restoration. The
knop takes the form of a moulded capital, and the head an ornate crucifix;
these pieces also date from the restoration. The full height of the cross is
approximately 3.1m.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

This List entry has been amended to add the source for War Memorials Register. This source was not used in the compilation of this List entry but is added here as a guide for further reading, 10 January 2018.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone,
mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD).
Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as
stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm
Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for
preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of
sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between
parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate
battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and
protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market
places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some
crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for
example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the
scenes of games or recreational activity.
Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have
numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation
has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and
religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by
iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval
standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The
oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft
often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the
stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a
flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th
centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may
take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more
elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped
crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding
stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the
most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the
stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also
uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the
13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and
cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base,
buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and
head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our
understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our
knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which
survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their
original location, are considered worthy of protection.

The churchyard cross at Claypole is a good example of a standing cross with a
stepped base. Situated to the south of the chancel, it is believed to stand
in or near its original position, and archaeological deposits relating to the
monument's construction in this location are likely to survive intact. While
the steps, socket-stone and part of the shaft have survived from medieval
times, the subsequent restoration of the cross as a war memorial has resulted
in its continued function as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Davies, D S, 'Lincolnshire Notes and Queries' in Ancient Stone Crosses in Kesteven, , Vol. XII no.5, (1913), 134
War Memorials Register, accessed 10 January 2018 from

Source: Historic England

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