Ancient Monuments

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Cross base for standing cross in churchyard of All Saints Church, Easington

A Scheduled Monument in Loftus, Redcar and Cleveland

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Latitude: 54.5518 / 54°33'6"N

Longitude: -0.8508 / 0°51'2"W

OS Eastings: 474427.387

OS Northings: 518003.633

OS Grid: NZ744180

Mapcode National: GBR QHHT.L2

Mapcode Global: WHF89.XV1C

Entry Name: Cross base for standing cross in churchyard of All Saints Church, Easington

Scheduled Date: 14 June 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011970

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25668

County: Redcar and Cleveland

Civil Parish: Loftus

Built-Up Area: Easington

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Easington All Saints

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument comprises a cross base for a medieval standing cross situated
outside the south west corner of the Church of All Saints in Easington. The
type of square sandstone base with a socket hole is familiar in this region
and connected with the boundaries of Whitby Abbey as is the base called the
Wishing Chair in Whitby and the wayside crosses on the moors at Fylingdales
and elsewhere in the North York Moors National Park.
The cross base is 3m from the south west corner of the church tower. It has
the south side of its socket broken away. The base is carved from a block of
local fine gritstone and measures 0.54m by 0.5m and stands 0.47m high. The
socket hole measures 0.28m by 0.26m and is 0.18m deep.
The cross, which is also Listed Grade II, is in its original position on the
south side of the church. The cross base is perhaps associated with the
remains of carved crosses kept in the basement of the church. Adjacent stone
grave covers and headstones are not included in the scheduling, although the
ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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 cross base at Easington survives well in spite of the loss of the shaft
and part of the socket. It serves to remind us of the earlier church on this
site and, together with the remains of pre-Conquest hogback tombstones and the
remains of crosses from a medieval date now kept in the basement of the
church, points to a major early church foundation.
The cross is in its original position on the south side of the present
building and may indicate a previous building on the present site.

Source: Historic England

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