Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross, St Nicholas's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Partney, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.1935 / 53°11'36"N

Longitude: 0.1099 / 0°6'35"E

OS Eastings: 541052.5625

OS Northings: 368343.125

OS Grid: TF410683

Mapcode National: GBR KV8.YBF

Mapcode Global: WHJLR.NZJP

Entry Name: Churchyard cross, St Nicholas's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 6 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013533

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22696

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Partney

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Partney St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes a Grade II Listed standing stone cross located in the
churchyard of St Nicholas's Church, Partney, to the south of the chancel. The
cross is medieval in origin and was restored in its present position in the
late 19th century. The monument includes the foundation, which is
19th century in date, and the base and part of the shaft, which are medieval.

The foundation of the cross is partially visible above ground, where two
courses of red brick support the base of the cross. The base takes the form
of a socket stone, a limestone block approximately 0.9m square in section at
the base with chamfered edges. At each corner of the socket stone is a winged
figure carved in deep relief, now headless, symbolising one of the Four
Evangelists: on the east corner an eagle (St John); on the south corner a man
(St Matthew); on the west corner an ox (St Luke); and on the north corner a
lion (St Mark). Carved on the middle of each side, between the figures, is a
plain chamfered shield. The top of the socket stone is octagonal. Set into
it with concrete is the shaft fragment, rectangular in section at the base and
rising upwards through chamfered corners in tapering octagonal section to a
height of 1.2m. At the top of the stone are the remains of four iron pins
which formerly fixed this fragment to an upper stone and cross-head.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 1 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 remains of the churchyard cross at St Nicholas's Church, Partney,
represent a good example of a medieval standing cross with a rare carved base.
Situated on the south side of the church it is believed to stand near its
original position. The restoration of the cross in this location has resulted
in its continued function as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
White, W, Directory of Lincolnshire, (1872)
Davies, D S, 'Lincolnshire Notes & Queries' in Ancient Stone Crosses in Lindsey and Holland Divisions of Lincs, , Vol. XIII no6, (1915), 175-176

Source: Historic England

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