Churchyard cross, St Benedict's churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010680

Date first listed: 04-Jan-1995


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross, St Benedict's churchyard
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: East Lindsey (District Authority)

Parish: Haltham

National Grid Reference: TF 24603 63827


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 churchyard cross at St Benedict's Church, Haltham, is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a quadrangular base and octagonal shaft. Situated on the south side of the church, it is believed to stand in or near its original position. Limited activity in the area immediately surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction and use 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.


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


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located in the churchyard of St Benedict's Church, Haltham, approximately 8.5m south of the nave. The cross is medieval in date and is constructed of limestone. The monument includes the foundation and base of the cross and part of the shaft.

The foundation of the cross takes the form of a solid substructure, buried beneath the turf, which extends 0.2m beyond the base on all sides. The base consists of a socket stone, a single limestone block approximately 0.9m square in section and standing to a height of about 0.23m above the ground surface. The upper edge of the stone is chamfered. Set into the centre of the socket stone with lead is the shaft fragment, 0.29m square in section at the base rising through moulded and chamfered corners in tapering octagonal section to a height of 0.88m. The top of the shaft fragment is flat and contains a number of small holes, in some of which are the remains of metal fittings of post-medieval date. At the bottom of each of the north and south faces of the shaft, and in the middle of the east face, are similar holes. The full height of the cross is about 1.1m. The cross is Listed Grade II.

The loose fragments of stonework which lie within the area of the scheduling, and which may have originated as part of the cross, have been retrieved from elsewhere and are excluded from the scheduling.

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: 22675

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Davies, D S, 'Lincolnshire Notes & Queries' in Ancient Stone Crosses in Lindsey and Holland Divisions of Lincs, , Vol. XIII no5, (1915), 149
Ordnance Survey record, Seaman, B.H., TF 26 SW 5, (1964)

End of official listing