Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross, Holy Trinity churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Bilsby, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.267 / 53°16'1"N

Longitude: 0.1975 / 0°11'50"E

OS Eastings: 546652.379334

OS Northings: 376700.192151

OS Grid: TF466767

Mapcode National: GBR YZTN.KK

Mapcode Global: WHJLM.049R

Entry Name: Churchyard cross, Holy Trinity churchyard

Scheduled Date: 21 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014425

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22708

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Bilsby

Built-Up Area: Bilsby

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Bilsby Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the remains of a Grade II Listed standing stone cross
located in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church, Bilsby, to the south east of
the south porch. The cross is medieval in date and is constructed of
limestone. The monument includes the base of the cross and the lower part of
the shaft.
The base takes the form of a socket stone, now partly buried and standing
about 0.18m above the present ground surface. The upper part of the stone is
about 0.85m square in section with rounded edges; the lower part of the stone
is buried. Set into the socket stone is the lower part of the shaft, nearly
square in section at the base and rising above moulded and chamfered corners
in tapering octagonal section to a height of 1.25m. At the top of the stone,
which is flat, are the remains of iron pins by which this part of the shaft
was formerly fixed to an upper stone and cross head.
The monument includes a 1m boundary around the cross which is essential for
the monument's support and preservation.

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 Holy Trinity Church, Bilsby, represent
a good example of a medieval standing cross with a quadrangular base and
octagonal shaft. Situated to the south east of the south porch it is believed
to stand in its original position. Minimal disturbance of the area immediately
surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the
monument's construction and use are likely to survive intact.

Source: Historic England

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