Standing cross on Walkeringham village green

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011847

Date first listed: 10-May-1995

Map

Ordnance survey map of Standing cross on Walkeringham village green
© 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: Nottinghamshire

District: Bassetlaw (District Authority)

Parish: Walkeringham

National Grid Reference: SK 77116 92309

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.

Though missing its shaft and probably not in its original location, the cross on the former village green of Walkeringham is a reasonably well-preserved example whose importance is enhanced by its unusual form. Its proximity to the church suggests that it played an important role in religious festivals and other social activities during the Middle Ages.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of a medieval standing cross situated on the western edge of the former village green. The remains comprise a semicircular base of three steps surmounted by a socket stone and a stump of the cross shaft. Originally the cross shaft would have been in the region of 2m high and would have been surmounted by a carved cross head. These components are now missing.

The stepped base or calvary has a base diameter of 2.5m and rises to a height of c.80cm. The bottom step is D-shaped but the second and third steps are progressively more C-shaped. This, together with the fact that the socket stone sits centrally on the top step, indicates that this is the original form of the cross base and that its flat back was designed to fit flush against a wall. Since the most likely wall for the cross to be fitted into is the former boundary wall between the church and the green, c.60m to the south, this suggests that the cross was moved to accommodate the 18th century manor house which is now located on the green.

The steps of the cross are constructed of large sandstone blocks with bricks visible in the back face. The latter suggest that the interior structure has been repaired and refaced at one time. The socket stone or socle is a c.70cm square by c.60cm high and consists of a finely dressed block which is square at the base but has deeply chamfered corners creating an octagonal upper section with pyramid stops on each of the chamfered faces. The stump of the cross shaft is c.15cm square and is bevelled around the top edge indicating that it was the pedestal for a separate narrower shaft which would have been c.10cm square. A groove in the surface of the pedestal is interpreted as the socket for the pin that would have held the cross shaft in place. The slenderness of the missing shaft suggests that it may have been made of wood, which would explain why it no longer survives. Alternatively, a stone cross shaft and head may have been vandalised by 16th or 17th century iconoclasts. The cross is Grade II Listed.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 23373

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
Shackleton Hill, Angela, (1994)

End of official listing