Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Standing cross on the west side of High Street

A Scheduled Monument in Collingham, Nottinghamshire

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Latitude: 53.1516 / 53°9'5"N

Longitude: -0.7571 / 0°45'25"W

OS Eastings: 483213.5856

OS Northings: 362332.836695

OS Grid: SK832623

Mapcode National: GBR CKR.FD7

Mapcode Global: WHFHB.B1PQ

Entry Name: Standing cross on the west side of High Street

Scheduled Date: 13 March 1957

Last Amended: 12 June 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012871

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23368

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: Collingham

Built-Up Area: Collingham

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Collingham

Church of England Diocese: Southwell and Nottingham


The monument includes the remains of a large and visually impressive medieval
standing cross which comprises a massive base or calvary of three limestone
steps leading to an ornate socket stone or socle surmounted by the lower
portion of a substantial cross shaft. The cross shaft would originally have
been approximately three times its present height and would have been
surmounted by a cross head or decorative spire. A missing component of the
shaft is alleged to have been identified at a nearby farm but this is not
confirmed. In addition, the cross is no longer in its original location having
been moved in 1971 c.20m from its former site on the east side of High Street.
The calvary covers an area of c.2.75m and has a total height of 1.2m. The
steps, from the base upward, measure 50cm, 40cm and 30cm high respectively.
The socle has an overall height of 75cm of which the lower 50cm consists of a
finely dressed block measuring c.80cm square. The upper corners of this block
are moulded to form rounded stops within triangular chamfers. The top section
of the socle is octagonal and tapers inward as it rises to an octagonal
The surviving portion of the shaft is c.90cm high and c.40cm square at the
base. It tapers towards the top and has chamfered edges decorated with foliage
mouldings. The scale and style of the cross, together with its possible
location on the route taken by the funeral cortege of Queen Eleanor of Castile
(d.1290), wife of Edward I, has led to speculation that the monument is an
Eleanor Cross. In addition, the cross is sometimes known locally as the Butter
Cross and its original site referred to as Butter Corner.
The modern paved surface surrounding the cross is excluded from the scheduling
though the ground underneath is included. The cross is Listed Grade II.

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.

The cross on the west side of High Street, though incomplete and not in its
original location, is a reasonably well-preserved example of a large, ornate
standing cross with possible important historical associations.

Source: Historic England


Photoes/archive in local museum, Collingham museum,
Shackleton Hill, Angela, (1994)
Stapleton, A., (1903)
Wake, E G, (1867)

Source: Historic England

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