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Standing cross at the junction of Green Lane and Water Street

A Scheduled Monument in Thornton, Sefton

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.5011 / 53°30'3"N

Longitude: -3.001 / 3°0'3"W

OS Eastings: 333697.742002

OS Northings: 400950.978003

OS Grid: SD336009

Mapcode National: GBR 7WHY.2P

Mapcode Global: WH86T.W84C

Entry Name: Standing cross at the junction of Green Lane and Water Street

Scheduled Date: 12 June 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015911

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27618

County: Sefton

Civil Parish: Thornton

Built-Up Area: Crosby

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: Great Crosby All Saints and St Frideswyde, Thornton

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool

Details

The monument includes a stepped plinth and cross base on the former village
green at Thornton. The original cross shaft was replaced by a sundial during
the 17th century.
The plinth is built of blocks of local sandstone in two steps. The first step
measures 1.9m square and the second 1.3m square. This is surmounted by a base
block measuring 0.7m square and stands 0.4m high. Into the socket is a stone
pillar in the form of a square baluster 1.3m high with a gnomon.
The cross base is contained in an enclosure of iron railings together with a
set of iron stocks set into the pavement. The railings and the surface of the
pavement are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.
The cross is Listed Grade II.

MAP EXTRACT
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 cross on the former village green at Thornton survives well in spite of
the loss of the shaft and head. It appears to be in its original position and
the addition of a sundial shaft and gnomon has protected it from extinction
during the Reformation.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Title:
Source Date: 1848
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
OS 6inch

Source: Historic England

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