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Cross in St Martin's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Waithe, Lincolnshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.4873 / 53°29'14"N

Longitude: -0.0667 / 0°4'0"W

OS Eastings: 528372.997

OS Northings: 400692.275999

OS Grid: TA283006

Mapcode National: GBR WXZ3.CM

Mapcode Global: WHHJ5.YLDY

Entry Name: Cross in St Martin's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 18 September 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019402

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22729

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Waithe

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Grainsby St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln

Details

The monument includes the base, comprising three 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 St Martin's Church to the south west of the south porch.
The cross is medieval in origin with modern additions, all of limestone.

The base of the cross includes three restored steps constructed of limestone
blocks. Resting on the top step is the medieval socket stone, a single block
of rectangular section with chamfered upper corners. Fixed into the
socket stone is the later shaft, of tapering octagonal section with integral
knop and head. The head takes the form of a crucifix within an octagon. The
full height of the shaft and head is approximately 3.3m.

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 churchyard cross at St Martin's Church is a good example of a medieval
standing cross with a stepped base. Situated to the south west 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

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