Churchyard cross, St Peter's churchyard
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- East Lindsey (District Authority)
- Toynton St. Peter
- National Grid Reference:
- TF 40380 63441
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 Peter's Church, Toynton St Peter, is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a rare carved base. Its position near the west door of the church is unusual and is believed to be of some antiquity, and archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction and use in this location are likely to survive intact.
The monument includes a Grade II Listed standing stone cross located in the
churchyard of St Peter's Church, Toynton St Peter, to the west of the west
door. The cross is medieval in date and is constructed of limestone. The
monument includes the base of the cross and part of the shaft.
The base takes the form of a socket stone, square in section above and octagonal below. The corners of the stone are carved in the form of human-like figures, now upside-down; the stone may thus be seen to have been inverted, so that the present largely level surface at the top was originally at the bottom. At the north west corner is a human head dressed in a wimple with large, drooping animal ears or wings; at the south west corner is a winged figure, now headless; at the south east corner a head and shoulders; and at the north east corner a human head with a large forked beard. The shaft is set into the socket stone with lead and is rectangular in section at the base; the corners are moulded and chamfered to taper upwards in octagonal section to a height of 1.38m. At the top of the stone are the remains of lead stubs where an upper stone was formerly fixed.
The modern paving which surrounds the cross on three sides is excluded from the scheduling where it lies within the protected area, 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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Harris, J, Antram, N, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire, (1989), 769
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing