Ancient Monuments

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Standing cross 300m north of Trent Farm

A Scheduled Monument in North Muskham, Nottinghamshire

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Latitude: 53.1257 / 53°7'32"N

Longitude: -0.8115 / 0°48'41"W

OS Eastings: 479623.915603

OS Northings: 359382.986233

OS Grid: SK796593

Mapcode National: GBR CL1.5LW

Mapcode Global: WHFH9.HPSN

Entry Name: Standing cross 300m north of Trent Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 July 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018131

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29924

County: Nottinghamshire

Civil Parish: North Muskham

Built-Up Area: North Muskham

Traditional County: Nottinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Nottinghamshire

Church of England Parish: North Muskham

Church of England Diocese: Southwell and Nottingham


The monument includes the remains of a standing cross located in a field to
the east of Main Street in the village of North Muskham, approximately 300m
north of Trent Farm. The cross is medieval in date and includes a socket stone
and the remains of a shaft. It is Listed Grade II.
The socket stone, which stands 0.4m high, is square in plan with mouldings at
the corners and measures approximately 0.75m by 0.75m. Set into the socket
stone is a stone shaft which is octagonal in plan and tapers to a rounded
point at the top. The shaft survives to a height of 1.28m. The shaft has
obviously been broken and repaired sometime in the past.
The cross is located at the entrance to a grassy lane which once led to the
River Trent. A few yards from the other end of the lane is a small artificial
basin, now dry and grassy, where the medieval ferry picked up and dropped off
passengers on jouneys between North Muskham and Holme. Before entering `the
perils of the waters' each passenger commended themselves at the cross in
North Muskham or at the cross in Holme to the mercy of God. It is believed
that the cross was also used as a place where transactions relating to the
local wool trade were validated. A cross of identical form survives directly
opposite on the east side of the river at Holme and is the subject of a
separate scheduling.

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 standing cross at North Muskham is an example of a medieval cross with a
square socket stone and octagonal shaft. It is believed to stand in its
original position and limited activity immediately surrounding the cross
indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction
and use will survive intact. The value of this monument is enhanced by the
survival of documentation suggesting its association with the cross at Holme.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Transactions of the Thoroton Society' in North Muskham, (1905)

Source: Historic England

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