Churchyard cross, All Saints' churchyard
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jul-2019 at 01:42:57.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- South Kesteven (District Authority)
- Westborough and Dry Doddington
- National Grid Reference:
- SK 85011 44283
Reasons for Designation
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 Westborough is a good example of the remains of a medieval standing cross with a quadrangular socket-stone and octagonal shaft. Situated to the south of the church, it is believed to stand in or near its original position. Limited disturbance of the area immediately surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction and use are likely to survive intact. The remains of the cross have been little altered in modern times, having continued in use as a public monument and amenity from medieval times to the present day.
The monument includes a standing stone cross located in the churchyard of All
Saints' Church, Westborough, approximately 5m south east of the south porch.
The cross is constructed of limestone and is medieval in date with later
repairs. The monument includes the foundation and base, comprising one step
and a socket-stone, the shaft, knop and a fragment of the head.
The foundation of the cross includes a plinth constructed of limestone blocks, partially exposed where the ground falls away to the south. It covers an area about 1.5m square. On the plinth rests the step, constructed of worn limestone blocks repaired with brick and mortar. It is about 1.4m square and 0.37m high, and is plain apart from slightly chamfered upper corners. On the northern side of the cross the step is partly buried. The socket-stone is roughly 0.9m square in section at the base and is chamfered to 0.73m square, with slightly chamfered upper corners. It stands over 0.5m in height. The shaft is set in the centre of the socket-stone and is 0.36m square in section at the base with chamfered corners rising in tapering octagonal section. The knop is also octagonal in section and is moulded; above it is a fragment of the head. The full surviving height of the cross is about 3m.
The cross is also Listed Grade II.
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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Davies, D S, 'Lincolnshire Notes and Queries' in Ancient Stone Crosses in Kesteven, , Vol. XII no.5, (1913), 149
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing