Silk Willoughby village cross

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009234

Date first listed: 07-Oct-1937

Date of most recent amendment: 23-Aug-1994

Map

Ordnance survey map of Silk Willoughby village cross
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

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

County: Lincolnshire

District: North Kesteven (District Authority)

Parish: Silk Willoughby

National Grid Reference: TF 05647 42966

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.

Silk Willoughby village cross is a good example of the remains of a medieval standing cross with an unusual carved base. Situated at a road junction in the village centre, it is believed to stand 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 in this location are likely to survive intact. The cross has been little altered in modern times 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 Silk Willoughby village cross, a Grade II* Listed standing stone cross of medieval and later date. The cross stands in a paved area on the south west side of a road junction to the south west of the parish church. The monument includes a base consisting of two modern steps, now buried, and a medieval socket-stone, with a medieval shaft. Both the socket- stone and shaft are of limestone. The socket-stone is approximately 0.93m square in section at ground level and stands to a height of about 0.58m. The corners are chamfered above and below so that the top of the stone is roughly octagonal in section. The four principal sides are carved with the symbols of the four evangelists in deep relief: on the south east face, a man (St Matthew); on the north east, a winged lion (St Mark); on the south west, a winged calf (St Luke); and on the north west, an eagle (St John). The corners are carved with further animal figures. Surrounding the socket-stone and lying flush with the pavement are a series of rectangular flagstones which describe an area approximately 1.55m square. These stones represent the upper of two modern steps added to the monument in the late 19th/early 20th century and subsequently buried by later paving. Set into the centre of the socket-stone is the shaft, of rectangular section at the base rising through chamfered corners in tapering octagonal section. The top of the stone is mainly flat and represents the original upper surface of the lower stone, onto which an upper stone would have been fixed. The full height of the shaft is approximately 1.37m. The monument includes a 1m margin around the cross which is essential for the monument's support and preservation. The paving 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: 22642

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Trollope, E, Sleaford, and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Arwardhun, (1872), 463
Other
photos on file AA 30924/1, The Market Cross at Silk Willoughby on A15, 2 miles SSW of Sleaf,
Simmons, B B, (1993)

End of official listing