Ancient Monuments

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Muston village cross, 70m east of Mountain Ash Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Bottesford, Leicestershire

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Latitude: 52.9294 / 52°55'45"N

Longitude: -0.77 / 0°46'12"W

OS Eastings: 482774.599

OS Northings: 337597.2565

OS Grid: SK827375

Mapcode National: GBR CNF.B43

Mapcode Global: WHFJ9.4MLL

Entry Name: Muston village cross, 70m east of Mountain Ash Farm

Scheduled Date: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017495

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30232

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Bottesford

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Muston St John Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


The monument includes the village cross 70m east of Mountain Ash Farm, a
standing stone cross of medieval and later date. The cross, which is Listed
Grade II*, includes a base of four steps, a socket stone, a shaft, and an
ornamental head.
The steps are square in plan and constructed from ashlar blocks. On the
uppermost step stands the socket stone which is approximately 0.82m square at
its base and up to 0.5m in height. The socket stone has chamfered angles with
roll moulded shields. The socket stone and base are thought to be medieval in
date and are clearly depicted in an 18th century engraving. Set into the
centre of the socket stone is the shaft, of square section at its base, rising
through chamfered corners in tapering octagonal section. The shaft is thought
to date from the 19th century, when the cross was restored. The head takes the
form of a crenellated cross and also dates from the 19th century. The full
height of the cross is approximately 5.38m.

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 village cross 70m east of Mountain Ash Farm represents a good example of a
medieval standing cross which is believed to stand in or near its original
position. Limited activity in the area immediately surrounding the cross
indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction
and use will survive intact. While most of the cross survives from medieval
times, the subsequent restoration of the shaft of the cross illustrates its
continued function as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Nichols, J, The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, (1805)
Leicestershire County Council, 83 NW.T,
Listing Report: 48/148,
RCHME, NMR Long Report: SK 83 NW 2,

Source: Historic England

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