The Lady Mowbray Stone cross base, east of Church of St Nicholas


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015538

Date first listed: 14-Mar-1997


Ordnance survey map of The Lady Mowbray Stone cross base, east of Church of St Nicholas
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: North Lincolnshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Haxey

National Grid Reference: SK 76517 99841


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.

Although the Lady Mowbray Stone cross base is is very worn and the shaft is broken to the top of base, it nevertheless is thought to be in its original position and is one of three local crosses surviving in Haxey.


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


The monument includes a medieval cross base situated on the pavement at the edge of the modern road, at the eastern end of the churchyard of St Nicholas Church, approximately 50m to the east of the church. The cross base is of worn limestone ashlar and includes a drum pedestal with a square section foot, 0.65m square and 0.4m high, with an octagonal upper section. The stump of the former cross shaft survives within the original socket, broken flush with the top. The monument is also believed to have been used as a mounting block in later times. The cross base is known locally as the Lady Mowbray or Hood Stone and is associated with the local tradition of the `Haxey Hood' game held each year on the sixth of January, where it is used as the site of the Fool's Speech and for the ceremony of `Smoking the Fool'. It is one of three local standing crosses surviving in Haxey, and is Grade II Listed. The paved surfaces to the modern pavement and the modern highway are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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


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

Legacy System number: 26617

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Rudkin, E H, Lincolnshire Folklore, (1973), 90-97
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheets, (1996)

End of official listing