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Standing cross in St Mary's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Kinwarton, Warwickshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.2234 / 52°13'24"N

Longitude: -1.8476 / 1°50'51"W

OS Eastings: 410509.504999

OS Northings: 258367.191999

OS Grid: SP105583

Mapcode National: GBR 3JX.FR0

Mapcode Global: VHB08.XCMW

Entry Name: Standing cross in St Mary's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 12 November 1962

Last Amended: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019759

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33138

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Kinwarton

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Kinwarton with Great Alne

Church of England Diocese: Coventry

Details

The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located in St
Mary's churchyard, approximately 10m west of the south west corner of the
church. The cross shaft, which is of early medieval date, was erected in this
position in the late 19th century. The base of three steps, and the integral
cross shaft and head are modern.

The base takes the form of three steps constructed of limestone and part of a
modern memorial bearing inscriptions on the east and west faces of the top
step. The base stands to a height of about 0.5m, and the bottom step covers an
area approximately 1.7m square. Set on the top step is the limestone shaft,
rectangular in section measuring 0.5m by 0.4m and standing approximately 1.2m
high. An interlacing knot pattern is carved on the east, south and west faces
of the shaft and is thought to date from the late 11th century. A modern
limestone cross shaft with integral head is set on top of the medieval shaft.
The head takes the form of a Latin cross with splayed ends and carving on the
east and west faces.

The cross is Listed Grade II.

The gravestone which lies immediately to the east 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 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 remains of the standing cross in St Mary's churchyard at Kinwarton
represent a good example of a standing stone cross with a rare carved shaft
believed to date from the early medieval period. 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

Other
WA1564, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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