Standing cross 20m north of St Michael’s Church.
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. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and protection their presence would have helped to invoke. 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. 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 standing cross 20m north of St Michael’s Church survives well in its original position with the exception of its cross-head, of which little remains except on its south east side.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 12 June 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a medieval cross situated within the churchyard of St Michael’s Church in Rocester. It is of sandstone construction and survives as a circular base of four steps with a maximum diameter of 3.2m, a three-tier socket stone with convex mouldings up to 0.6m high, a quadrilobe shaft 0.3m wide at its base which tapers slightly to a height of up to 3m with sunk dog-tooth ornament on two sides, little remains of its cross-head capital. The cross is thought to date to the 13th century.
The monument is also a Grade II* listed building.