Ancient Monuments

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The Lady Mowbray Stone cross base, east of Church of St Nicholas

A Scheduled Monument in Haxey, North Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 53.4897 / 53°29'23"N

Longitude: -0.8482 / 0°50'53"W

OS Eastings: 476516.9385

OS Northings: 399841.469

OS Grid: SK765998

Mapcode National: GBR QXJ2.5R

Mapcode Global: WHFFJ.YK81

Entry Name: The Lady Mowbray Stone cross base, east of Church of St Nicholas

Scheduled Date: 14 March 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015538

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26617

County: North Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Haxey

Built-Up Area: Haxey

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Haxey St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes a medieval cross base situated on the pavement at the
edge of the modern road, at the eastern end of the churchyard of St Nicholas
Church, approximately 50m to the east of the church.
The cross base is of worn limestone ashlar and includes a drum pedestal with a
square section foot, 0.65m square and 0.4m high, with an octagonal upper
section. The stump of the former cross shaft survives within the original
socket, broken flush with the top.
The monument is also believed to have been used as a mounting block in later
The cross base is known locally as the Lady Mowbray or Hood Stone and is
associated with the local tradition of the `Haxey Hood' game held each year on
the sixth of January, where it is used as the site of the Fool's Speech and
for the ceremony of `Smoking the Fool'. It is one of three local standing
crosses surviving in Haxey, and is Grade II Listed.
The paved surfaces to the modern pavement and the modern highway are excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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.

Although the Lady Mowbray Stone cross base is is very worn and the shaft is
broken to the top of base, it nevertheless is thought to be in its original
position and is one of three local crosses surviving in Haxey.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Rudkin, E H, Lincolnshire Folklore, (1973), 90-97
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheets, (1996)

Source: Historic England

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