Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross, St Andrew's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Little Steeping, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.1497 / 53°8'59"N

Longitude: 0.1423 / 0°8'32"E

OS Eastings: 543361.551083

OS Northings: 363544.252401

OS Grid: TF433635

Mapcode National: GBR KVX.DSY

Mapcode Global: WHJM5.5305

Entry Name: Churchyard cross, St Andrew's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 6 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014939

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22695

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Little Steeping

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Little Steeping St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes a Grade II Listed standing stone cross located in the
churchyard of St Andrew's Church, Little Steeping, to the south east of the
south porch. The cross is medieval in origin with modern additions. The
monument includes the base, comprising a plinth and a socket stone, the shaft,
knop and head.

The plinth is approximately 1.4m square in section and is constructed of worn
limestone. On it rests the socket stone, a limestone block measuring 0.9m
square in section at the base rising through moulded and chamfered corners to
a top of octagonal section. Both the plinth and the socket stone are believed
to be medieval in date. Fixed into the socket stone with lead and mortar is
the shaft, square in section at the base with moulded and chamfered corners
tapering upwards in octagonal section. The lowest part of the shaft, to a
height of 0.24m, is medieval in date while the upper part dates from a late
19th or early 20th century restoration. The shaft terminates in a moulded
knop and head, which takes the form of a gabled cross; on the south side of
the cross is a carved representation of the Crucifixion, and on the north side
a figure thought to represent a saint. The full height of the cross is
approximately 3.8m.

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 churchyard cross at St Andrew's Church, Little Steeping, is a good
example of a standing cross with a square socket stone and octagonal shaft.
Situated on the south side of the church it is believed to stand in or near
its original position, and archaeological deposits relating to the monument's
construction and use are likely to survive intact. While part of the cross
has survived from medieval times, the later restoration of the shaft and head
has resulted in the continued function of the cross as a public monument and

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Harris, J, Antram, N, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire, (1989), 532
Vallance, A, Old Crosses and Lychgates, (1920), 73
TF 46 SW 3/59, Department of the Environment, Listed Building description,

Source: Historic England

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