Ancient Monuments

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Boundary cross 300m north of Alders Farm

A Scheduled Monument in King's Cliffe, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.5613 / 52°33'40"N

Longitude: -0.5434 / 0°32'36"W

OS Eastings: 498836.770705

OS Northings: 296936.291135

OS Grid: SP988969

Mapcode National: GBR FWV.FF8

Mapcode Global: WHGM8.MWFB

Entry Name: Boundary cross 300m north of Alders Farm

Scheduled Date: 10 June 1976

Last Amended: 19 March 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017621

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29713

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: King's Cliffe

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Bulwick and Blatherwycke St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


The monument includes a standing stone cross located 300m north of Alders
Farm, on the boundary between the parishes of King's Cliffe and Blatherwycke.
It is situated on the edge of a small copse immediately to the south of the
King's Cliffe to Blatherwycke Road. This copse is a remnant of the hedgeline
which formerly ran along the parish boundary at this point, and the cross is
believed to stand in, or very close to, its original position in the hedge.
The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is set into a stone slab and stands to a
height of approximately 1.15m. It is believed to be of medieval date, and is
constructed from limestone ashlar. The rectangular shaft has short side arms
and tapers slightly to a wheel head which bears a Maltese cross decoration in
relief on the western face.
All fences and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them is included.

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 300m north of Alders Farm represents a good example of a medieval
boundary cross. Situated on the line of the parish boundary, it is believed to
stand in or near its original position and limited activity in the area
immediately surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological deposits
relating to its construction and use in this location will survive intact. The
cross is clearly visible from the adjacent highway and continues to function
as a parish boundary marker.

Source: Historic England

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