Churchyard cross, St Andrew's churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014939

Date first listed: 06-Nov-1995


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross, St Andrew'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: Little Steeping

National Grid Reference: TF 43362 63544


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 Andrew's Church, Little Steeping, is a good example of a standing cross with a square socket stone and octagonal shaft. Situated on the south side of the church it is believed to stand in or near its original position, and archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction and use are likely to survive intact. While part of the cross has survived from medieval times, the later restoration of the shaft and head has resulted in the continued function of the cross as a public monument and amenity.


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


The monument includes a Grade II Listed standing stone cross located in the churchyard of St Andrew's Church, Little Steeping, to the south east of the south porch. The cross is medieval in origin with modern additions. The monument includes the base, comprising a plinth and a socket stone, the shaft, knop and head.

The plinth is approximately 1.4m square in section and is constructed of worn limestone. On it rests the socket stone, a limestone block measuring 0.9m square in section at the base rising through moulded and chamfered corners to a top of octagonal section. Both the plinth and the socket stone are believed to be medieval in date. Fixed into the socket stone with lead and mortar is the shaft, square in section at the base with moulded and chamfered corners tapering upwards in octagonal section. The lowest part of the shaft, to a height of 0.24m, is medieval in date while the upper part dates from a late 19th or early 20th century restoration. The shaft terminates in a moulded knop and head, which takes the form of a gabled cross; on the south side of the cross is a carved representation of the Crucifixion, and on the north side a figure thought to represent a saint. The full height of the cross is approximately 3.8m.

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: 22695

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Harris, J, Antram, N, The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire, (1989), 532
Vallance, A, Old Crosses and Lychgates, (1920), 73
TF 46 SW 3/59, Department of the Environment, Listed Building description,

End of official listing