Ancaster village cross

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009222

Date first listed: 25-Nov-1994

Map

Ordnance survey map of Ancaster village cross
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: South Kesteven (District Authority)

Parish: Ancaster

National Grid Reference: SK 98405 43843

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

Ancaster Village Cross is a good example of the remains of a medieval standing cross with a quadrangular base and octagonal shaft. Situated by the side of the Roman road, Ermine Street, it is believed to stand in or near its original position. Limited development of the area immediately surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction and use in this location are likely to survive intact. The cross has not been significantly restored and has continued in use as a public monument and amenity from medieval times to the present day.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes Ancaster village cross, a Grade II Listed standing stone cross, located on the pavement on the east side of Ermine Street north of Sleaford Lane. The cross takes the form of a socket-stone with two pieces of shaft, all of which are medieval in date.

The socket-stone is roughly rectangular in section, with moulded and chamfered corners forming a top of irregular octagonal section. Rising from the centre of the socket-stone is the lower part of the shaft, a fragment of quadrangular section at the base which reaches a maximum height of 0.3m. In its eastern face is a broad vertical groove. Set onto this piece is the upper part of the shaft, in section a rounded octagon tapering upwards to a height of approximately 0.85m, terminating in a rounded top with a hole in the centre. The combined height of the three stones which now make up the cross is approximately 1.1m above ground level.

The pavement immediately surrounding 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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 22628

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Davies, D S, 'Lincolnshire Notes and Queries' in Ancient Stone Crosses in Kesteven, , Vol. XII no.5, (1913), 132

End of official listing