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Standing cross on Walkeringham village green

A Scheduled Monument in Walkeringham, Nottinghamshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.422 / 53°25'19"N

Longitude: -0.841 / 0°50'27"W

OS Eastings: 477116.164512

OS Northings: 392308.834376

OS Grid: SK771923

Mapcode National: GBR QXKW.Q1

Mapcode Global: WHFFY.18S0

Entry Name: Standing cross on Walkeringham village green

Scheduled Date: 10 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011847

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23373

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: Walkeringham

Built-Up Area: Walkeringham

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Walkeringham

Church of England Diocese: Southwell and Nottingham

Details

The monument includes the remains of a medieval standing cross situated on the
western edge of the former village green. The remains comprise a semicircular
base of three steps surmounted by a socket stone and a stump of the cross
shaft. Originally the cross shaft would have been in the region of 2m high and
would have been surmounted by a carved cross head. These components are now
missing.

The stepped base or calvary has a base diameter of 2.5m and rises to a height
of c.80cm. The bottom step is D-shaped but the second and third steps are
progressively more C-shaped. This, together with the fact that the socket
stone sits centrally on the top step, indicates that this is the original form
of the cross base and that its flat back was designed to fit flush against a
wall. Since the most likely wall for the cross to be fitted into is the former
boundary wall between the church and the green, c.60m to the south, this
suggests that the cross was moved to accommodate the 18th century manor
house which is now located on the green.

The steps of the cross are constructed of large sandstone blocks with bricks
visible in the back face. The latter suggest that the interior structure has
been repaired and refaced at one time. The socket stone or socle is a c.70cm
square by c.60cm high and consists of a finely dressed block which is square
at the base but has deeply chamfered corners creating an octagonal upper
section with pyramid stops on each of the chamfered faces. The stump of the
cross shaft is c.15cm square and is bevelled around the top edge indicating
that it was the pedestal for a separate narrower shaft which would have been
c.10cm square. A groove in the surface of the pedestal is interpreted as the
socket for the pin that would have held the cross shaft in place. The
slenderness of the missing shaft suggests that it may have been made of wood,
which would explain why it no longer survives. Alternatively, a stone cross
shaft and head may have been vandalised by 16th or 17th century iconoclasts.
The cross is Grade II Listed.

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

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.

Though missing its shaft and probably not in its original location, the cross
on the former village green of Walkeringham is a reasonably well-preserved
example whose importance is enhanced by its unusual form. Its proximity to the
church suggests that it played an important role in religious festivals and
other social activities during the Middle Ages.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Shackleton Hill, Angela, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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