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Churchyard cross, Old Church

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Churchyard cross, Old Church

List entry Number: 1013532

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Lincolnshire

District: East Lindsey

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Great Steeping

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 06-Nov-1995

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 22694

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 remains of the churchyard cross at the Old Church, Great Steeping, include a medieval carved base surviving in unusually good condition. It is particularly rare in that the carved figures are complete, having escaped mutilation by post-medieval iconoclasts, and due to a long period of partial burial are little weathered. Situated to the south of the nave, the cross is believed to stand in its original position, and archaeological deposits relating to its construction and use will thus survive intact.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located in the churchyard of the Old Church at Great Steeping, formerly the Church of All Saints. The cross is medieval in date and is constructed of limestone. The monument includes the base of the cross and a fragment of the shaft.

The base takes the form of a socket stone, approximately 0.8m square in section, now partially buried and standing to a height of about 0.3m above the present ground surface. At each corner of the socket stone is a complete winged figure carved in deep relief symbolising one of the Four Evangelists: on the north east corner a man (St Matthew), on the south east an ox (St Luke), on the south west a lion (St Mark) and on the north west an eagle (St John). Carved on the middle of each side, between the figures, is a plain shield. The socket stone is broken into two pieces, slightly parted, and in the top is a rectangular socket filled with two small fragments of limestone which represent the base of the shaft.

Lying on the ground surface adjacent to the east side of the cross is a loose fragment of a cross-shaft, 0.66m long, made of sandstone; this piece is not considered to have been an original part of the cross and is therefore 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Davies, D S, 'Lincolnshire Notes & Queries' in Ancient Stone Crosses in Lindsey and Holland Divisions of Lincs, , Vol. XIII no5, (1915), 148

National Grid Reference: TF 43478 63921

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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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 - 1013532 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 17-Nov-2017 at 11:17:55.

End of official listing