HOVERINGHAM.—The earliest reference seems to be that in Allen's " Handbook to Nottingham and its Environs," 1866:—"Behind the church may still be seen the remains of an ancient cross." This consists of an octagonal shaft and plinth, of a total height of about 41/2 feet from the ground, it having presumably been cut down at some byegone period, to serve as a sundial. The gnomon was missing in 1887, and the brass dial itself is said to have subsequently disappeared.
KEYWORTH.—The central open space on the hill adjoining the churchyard, whence several roads radiate, is called Cross Hill.
KIRKBY-IN-ASHFIELD.—There was a grant of the right to hold a market and fair at this place in the reign of Henry III. The existing village cross at Kirkby, first mentioned in the directory of 1864, is of a small and unpretentious type, but perfect except for its head, the top of the shaft showing a rounded neck where the latter was once affixed. The structure is somewhat similar in style to Linby bottom cross, but smaller, and consists of four square steps, plinth, and a shaft with bevelled angles, about four feet in length. A rough, upright, flat stone at its foot about three feet above the ground (perhaps an old boundary stone), that was standing in 1887, had disappeared a few years later. In 1902 some of the loosened stones of the cross base lay detached on the ground.
KNEESALL. —In the church is (or was in 1903) a cubical block of stone, recovered from the walls daring the recent restoration of the fabric. Though partially cut away in adapting for use as a building stone, it has been ornamented on all four sides with plainted bands, or ribbon-work, of Scandinavian type, not later in date than the eleventh century. The stone once formed the lower pat of a built-up shaft, after the manner of that in Rolles-ton church.
Stretton, in his notes on Kneesall, written in 1815, says:—"A column surmounted with a cross, on which is inscribed, ' Fear God, honor the King, 1798,' is erected in the town street to commemorate the battle of Aboukir or the Nile, at the expense of the Rt. Hon. Earl Manvers." Stretton also made a drawing of the monument. (See " Stretton Manuscripts," 1910.) It is described as "a lofty cross" in the directory of 1832. The monument cannot have long remained here after the latter date, for the directory of 1844 records that it " was taken down a few years ago, and the hill on which it stood levelled."
In repeating the same information, the directory of 1864 adds that "A portion of this old cross is in the possession of Mr. John Sampson, of the Old Hall." The removed structure was at some date acquired by the late R. S. Wilson, of Tuxford Hall, and is referred to as being there in Kelly's Directory of 1881. The edition of the latter for 1888 says: —"In the grounds of Tuxford Hall is an old stone cross, which formerly stood on the highest hill on the Thoresby estate, and was erected 1st August, 1798, by Charles, Earl Manvers, to commemorate the victory of the Nile. A new base has been added to this cross." A subsequent edition says the base was placed to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887. In the Tuxford Hall sale-catalogue, the Kneesall cross figures as Lot No. 918, in the Garden; and it was subsequently knocked down for £5 to Earl Manvers. It now stands in Thoresby Park, at the south-west corner of Nelson's Grove.
LAXTON.—A triangular patch of turf in the centre of the village is known as "The Cross." There are also the base and shaft of a cross in the churchyard, on the south side of the church, the upper part of which, at least, does not appear to be older than the Restoration period.
LEVERTON, SOUTH—In 1488 reference is made to a "messuage called the Crosse House."
|Linby bottom cross.|
LINBY.—The Sherwood Forest perambulations of 1505 and 1538 proceeded "by the middle of the town of Linby unto the cross there," etc. Similar allusions occur in all the perambulations from 1505 to 1662. With the exception, however, of one out of two references in an early l7th century example (which hence perhaps embraces an error), all are in the singular. Despite, therefore, what has been said in the past, it may be that there was only one cross at Linby in mediaeval times, which would doubtless be the larger, or Top Cross, hard by the church. Concerning this latter, apparently, a writer of 1850 considered that " from its exquisite workmanship and fair proportions [it] may be considered as fine a specimen of the village cross as can be met with in almost any part of England." The fine, wide-spreading base, formed of small local material, is the only one in the county of heptagonal shape, and consists of a plinth and seven steps, having a ground-diameter of about six yards. Two irons once fixed in the plinth perhaps belonged to stocks, pillory, or a lamp. The original shaft was presumably demolished in Reformation or Commonwealth times, and is described as broken in 1853. In 1869 a new plinth and shaft of Mansfield stone, copied from the bottom cross, were affixed, as they exist to-day, , and a small brass plate added, bearing the names of the contemporary squire and rector. The plate had disappeared in 1887, but was again screwed into place on 6 April, 1910. The village maypole stands hard by.
The directory of 1832 seems to be the earliest literary authority concerning the existence of two crosses at Linby, while Washington Irving inferentially mentions them in 1835. The bottom cross, with its stream of water, is mentioned by Hall in 1841; and the pair are further mentioned by writers of 1851 and 1853. However, although the bottom cross is certainly much older than any discoverable literary allusions, and furthermore represents the sole surviving perfect cross (other than modern) in the county, there seems no conclusive evidence that any part of the erection is mediaeval. In the case of the shaft, the ogee moulding of the capital is authoritatively declared to demonstrate its post-Reformation date. Upon the whole, there can be little doubt this erection belongs to the Restoration period. The circumstance of the figures incised on its capital being nowadays much weathered is no doubt responsible for a modern directory rendering them "1469." Some twenty years ago the village schoolmaster took them town as 1660, a highly probable date, and one that marks the structure as a monument of the Restoration. An attempt to read the figures on the present writer's part, so recently as 1910, resulted in the rendering, 166, with some doubt in regard to the fourth figure. The cross consists of six steps, plinth, and tapering shaft, surmounted by a cross. The lead solder visible on one side of the neck exhibits the manner of affixing the head to the shaft.
|Mansfield old cross.|
MANSFIELD.—Although the first History of Mansfield, 1801, contains no allusion to any cross at either Mansfield or Mansfield Wood-house, we are not without evidence of the former existence of several. In 1589 occur references to ''the highway leading towards Ratcliff Cross'' (perhaps the present Ratcliffe Gate), and to land called "High Cross Leys." As late as 1830 was granted a lease of High Cross Leys, or Bull Farm, presumably identical with the Bull Farm occurring on modern maps, on the road to Pleasley. Again, a Stonecross Lane (which a recent writer says was formerly called Stump Cross Lane) figures in late records. "Stone Cross" is the name of a Mansfield residence.
Beyond the two or three crosses mentioned in, or to be inferred from the foregoing evidences, it is obvious that, as an ancient market-town, Mansfield must have possessed a market-cross from an early period, presumably on or near the site of the existing cross, in Westgate. The only early reference hereto seems to be the record in the parish-register, in 1603, of King James I. being "solomlye at the Markitt Crosse in Mansfield proclaimed Kinge of Englande," by a concourse of prominent local gentry. The cross of 1603 and the existing cross are presumably identical, making allowance for drastic remodelling and "restoration," at some unrecorded date. The shaft, perhaps by way of a remedy for having become "weathered," is actually coated with stucco, and represents a dreadful example of how not to restore a cross. At the top of the tall shaft is a stone with four faces, utilised as sundials, and surmounted by a ball. The latter is said to have once fallen off, and so caused the death of a man. Ground space has been economised by nearly abolishing the steps, now represented by four rudimentary ones, which moreover are entirely cut away on two sides, to accommodate a drinking-foun-tain and a horse-trough respectively. Above the steps, and supporting the shaft and coped socket, is a perpendicular-sided mass of solid stonework, after the manner of that at Staple-ford, but narrower. If, as has been supposed, the existing cross-shaft is ancient, the Mansfield authorities might perform a laudable and a practically costless restoration by merely hacking off the unseemly screen of stucco.
|Bentinck Memorial, Mansfield.|
The Bentinck Memorial, in Mansfield Market Place, is a modern example of a memorial-cross, that also serves the purpose of a market-cross, and was erected in 1848.
MANSFIELD WOODHOUSE. — The earliest notice appears to be that in the directory of 1832, as follows: "A sheep fair was formerly held here on Monday after Mansfield cheese fair, but it was discontinued some years ago, though the ancient cross round which it was held has recently been repaired." The popular fallacy that all old crosses were originally associated with markets was illustrated by a suggestion made at a meeting of the Local Board in 1887, to the effect that the existence of "an old market cross" in the centre of the village, should be adduced as equivalent to a charter or documentary evidence, in relation to the former existence of a market. During the same year, the Rev. C. Webb, vicar, submitted a suggestion (presumably traceable to the example of Mansfield) that the local permanent memorial of the Queen's Jubilee of 1887 should take the shape of a restoration of the cross, in association with a drinking fountain and an appropriate inscription. Although a committee was appointed to take the matter into consideration, the project did not find favour, and consequently went no further. The existing remains of the cross are represented by a wide-spreading square base only, consisting of four steps and a large raised plinth, of Mansfield Woodhouse stone. The manner whereby the shaft was fixed to the base, as indicated by a small hole about one inch in diameter, in the centre of the flat-surfaced plinth, was that of first affixing an iron' dowel in the bottom of the completed shaft, and then lowering the latter into position.
MARKHAM, EAST.—The earliest printed reference appears to be in a pamphlet on Markham Church and Parish, by Clements B. Markham, C.B., 1882, which says: "A market was formerly held at East Markham, and there was an old market cross on a grassy eminence near the church, the centre of a rising and flourishing town." In 1888 the wife of the then vicar wrote: "I remember an old man, many years dead, saying there were two market crosses here. The market was moved from this place to Tuxford in 1609, when the plague was here, and in some way it was never brought back..................... There are no remains of the cross at all, though this old person said one was a very handsome one."
MUSKHAM, NORTH. — A lichen-grown, octagonal, tapering shaft, about five feet in length, standing on a large square plinth some 21/2 feet high, near Muskham Marsh, is thought to have indicated the direction of a ferry across the Trent, in old times. It much resembles a shaft and plinth at Rolleston. It is stated that Sir Edmund Street, about 1860, ascribed the Muskham erection to the thirteenth century.
NEWARK.—Beaumond Cross, Newark, too well known to need describing, is by far the finest example of a Gothic cross remaining in Nottinghamshire, and has in the past received a commensurate meed of attention from the times of Gough and Stukeley downwards. Until recent years it was erroneously ascribed to the 15th century, but has latterly been shown to be of the Decorated period. The corresponding street or district of Newark is mentioned under the appellation of "Beaumond" from at least as early as 1310. The circumstance of the topographical situation of Beaumond Cross, excluding as it does all association with the idea of a market-cross, is perhaps largely responsible for the amount of debate to which the existence of such an elaborate monument has given rise. The most striking view, and one favoured by strong circumstantial evidence, is that this is an Meanor Cross, and though there are some who do not assent to it, they have as yet advanced no definite alternative theory. Documentary evidence of the existence of the structure first transpires as early as 1367, in the form of "Beaumound-crousse.''
The cross formerly existing in Newark Market Place occurs on documentary record at a still earlier date. An account of an affray in the "marketstede" in 1332, relates that one man overturned another into a box full of oatmeal, ''on the west side of the cross in the middle of the said market." A Newark man whose will bears date 1550, bequeathed £10 "for the makinge of a pentice or a cover-inge rounde aboute the crosse in the market plaice in Newarke, substanciall and stronge withe tymber and tyell," provided it should be covered with lead, and the task completed within three years. No doubt this work of converting a pillar into a covered or sheltering cross, as it seems to have been, was duly carried out. Not only is there documentary evidence of the existence of a cross in the centre of the market-place in 1619, but in 1633 the corporation disbursed 40 shillings " for paintinge the market crosse." A writer of 1658 definitely describes the market-cross as "a Market-House piazza'd or bolstered up with wooden props, commoded with a roof of lead and tile." It presumably continued in existence in 1724, in view of Stukeley's testimony that " there are two fine stone crosses at Newark"; but can scarcely have survived much longer, or the old inhabitants of Dickinson's time would have remembered it.
A third Newark cross, which gave name to a Friar Cross Close, is stated to have stood at the cross-roads at the bottom of the Friary grounds, near to the present Newark Arms inn.
NEWSTEAD.—In early times, when crosses were extensively utilised for marking the boundaries of estates, and particularly those in the hands of religious bodies, it is evident there were several associated with the domain surrounding the priory of Newstead. It was apparently one of these that, consequent on it also standing on the forest confines, transpired on record at a very early date, in the Sherwood Forest perambulations of 1218 and 1227, for a certain "little cross" is there located on the north boundary of the Newstead estate, where the road from Kirkby to Blidworth was intersected by that from Nottingham to Bolsover. A citation of the boundaries of Newstead estates, apparently in 1350, mentions Chapman Cross and Newstead Cross, (the latter located between Newstead and Blidworth), as well as a wood called "Knightcrosse," which last may be traced on the Ordnance Map. It may be added that, a quarter of a mile northward beyond Newstead Abbey, on the west side of the old road from Nottingham (now absorbed in the Park), an old road-book of 1698 figures "Robin Hood's Stone." It is stated to still exist, on the same spot.
NEWTHORPE.—A thirteenth century deed relates to land in Newthorpe in "Le Neufeld," abutting upon a pasture called "Begerleth," and upon "le Croshalveacres."