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Cross in All Saints churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in West Rasen, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.3898 / 53°23'23"N

Longitude: -0.4001 / 0°24'0"W

OS Eastings: 506495.108999

OS Northings: 389294.096003

OS Grid: TF064892

Mapcode National: GBR TYN7.5L

Mapcode Global: WHGHG.T2N5

Entry Name: Cross in All Saints churchyard

Scheduled Date: 18 September 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018285

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22717

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: West Rasen

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: West Rasen All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes the base, comprising two steps and a socket stone, the
shaft and head, of a Grade II Listed standing stone cross. The cross is
located in the churchyard of All Saints Church to the south east of the south
porch. The cross is medieval in origin with modern additions, all of
limestone.

The cross stands on an artificially raised mound, approximately 4.5m in
diameter and 0.3m high. The base of the cross is medieval in date and includes
two steps of circular plan. Resting on the top step is the socket stone, a
single block of rectangular section with a chamfered upper edge. Fixed into
the socket stone is the shaft, rectangular in section at the base and rising
above moulded and chamfered corners in tapering octagonal section. The lower
part of the shaft, which is 0.48m high, is medieval in date while the upper
part is a modern restoration. Integral with the upper part of the shaft is the
cross head, also modern, which takes the form of a Latin cross with chamfered
edges. The full height of the cross is approximately 3m.

The gravestone which stands on the south east side of the cross is excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 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 churchyard cross at All Saints Church is a good example of a medieval
standing cross with a stepped base. Situated to the south east of the south
porch it is believed to stand in or near its original position. Minimal
disturbance of the area immediately surrounding the cross indicates that
archaeological deposits relating to its construction and use in this location
will survive intact. While parts of the cross survive from medieval times,
subsequent restoration has resulted in its continued function as a public
monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Davies, D S, 'Lincolnshire Notes & Queries' in Ancient Stone Crosses in Lindsey and Holland Divisions of Lincs, , Vol. XIII no8, (1915), 225

Source: Historic England

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