Butter Cross, Tattershall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009227

Date first listed: 04-Mar-1947

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Aug-1994


Ordnance survey map of Butter Cross, Tattershall
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1009227 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 17-Jan-2019 at 21:01:48.


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

County: Lincolnshire

District: East Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Tattershall

National Grid Reference: TF 21239 57894


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.

The Butter Cross at Tattershall is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a stepped base, including a carved medieval knop surviving in good condition. Situated in the former market-place, 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. While parts of the cross survive from medieval times, subsequent restoration has resulted in its continued function as a public monument and amenity.


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


The monument includes the Butter Cross, a Grade I Listed standing stone cross, located on the south west side of the market-place in the village of Tattershall. The cross is of stepped form and is principally medieval in date with modern additions. The monument includes the base, consisting of five steps and a socket-stone, and the shaft, knop and head.

The base includes five steps, all octagonal in plan. The lowest step is modern and is constructed of red sandstone blocks and concrete resting on a concrete foundation. The four upper steps are medieval and are constructed of limestone blocks, partially restored and now held together by iron clamps. On the uppermost step rests the socket-stone, a large square slab with moulded and chamfered corners. Set into the middle of the socket-stone is the shaft, square in section at the base with chamfered corners tapering upwards in octagonal section. The knop is elaborately carved with alternating shields and figures; above is a frieze of blind arches. Both the shaft and the knop are medieval. The head takes the form of a crucifix with foliate terminals and represents a modern addition to the cross. The full height of the cross is approximately 5.7m.

The modern paving on the south west side of the cross is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath it is included. The monument includes a 1m boundary around the cross which is essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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: 22633

Legacy System: RSM


Listed Building description, Department of the Environment, Market Cross, (1966)

End of official listing