Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross, St Mary's churchyard, Winthorpe

A Scheduled Monument in Skegness, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.1668 / 53°10'0"N

Longitude: 0.3308 / 0°19'50"E

OS Eastings: 555906.040537

OS Northings: 365832.124541

OS Grid: TF559658

Mapcode National: GBR MYM.DGQ

Mapcode Global: WHJM2.1NSN

Entry Name: Churchyard cross, St Mary's churchyard, Winthorpe

Scheduled Date: 21 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014427

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22710

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Skegness

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Skegness and Winthorpe

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes the standing stone cross located in the churchyard of
St Mary's Church, Winthorpe, to the south east of the south porch. The cross
is medieval in origin with modern additions, all of limestone. The monument
includes the base, comprising three steps and a socket stone, the shaft, knop
and head.

The base includes three steps, all square in plan and composed of rectangular
blocks held together by mortar. On the top step rests the socket stone, a
single block of square section with a chamfered upper edge. On each side of
the socket stone is carved a quatrefoil panel. The steps and socket stone are
all of medieval date. Attached to the socket stone is a series of modern
bronze plaques recording the restoration of the cross as a war memorial in
1920. Set into the socket stone with mortar is the lower part of the shaft,
rectangular in section at the base and rising above moulded and chamfered
corners in tapering octagonal section to a height of 0.93m. This part of the
shaft is also medieval. The remainder of the shaft, which brings it to a
height of 1.91m, is modern. The knop is octagonal in section and supports a
small plinth on which stands a gabled cross of tapering octagonal section with
openwork decoration between the arms; both the knop and head are modern. The
full height of the cross is approximately 4.8m.

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.

This List entry has been amended to add sources for War Memorials Online and the War Memorials Register. These sources were not used in the compilation of this List entry but are added here as a guide for further reading, 16 August 2017.

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 churchyard cross at St Mary's Church, Winthorpe, is a good example of a
medieval standing cross with a stepped base and carved socket stone. Situated
to the south east of the south porch it is believed to stand in or near its
original position. Minimal disturbance of the area immediately surrounding
the cross indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's
construction and use in this location are likely to survive intact. While
parts of the cross survive from medieval times, subsequent restoration has
resulted in its continued function as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Davies, D S, 'Lincolnshire Notes & Queries' in Ancient Stone Crosses in Lindsey and Holland Divisions of Lincs, , Vol. XIII no8, (1915), 226-227
War Memorials Online, accessed 23 January 2017 from
War Memorials Register, accessed 16 August 2017 from

Source: Historic England

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