Ludgershall village cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012691

Date first listed: 21-Dec-1943

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Sep-1995


Ordnance survey map of Ludgershall village cross
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Ludgershall

National Grid Reference: SU 26453 50926


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 Ludgershall village cross has in the past sustained damage which has resulted in the loss of some components, it remains an important example of a type of monument which provides considerable insight into both spiritual and secular life in the medieval period.


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


The monument includes part of a medieval standing cross, situated on the east side of Castle Street in Ludgershall. The cross has a rectangular brick plinth, to a maximum of 13 courses high, which itself stands on a foundation of small stone blocks. This plinth is surmounted by a series of three stone steps of diminishing size. The lower two are built of stone blocks connected, in the case of the lower step, by iron billets run in with lead. The upper two steps both retain vestigial mouldings on their upper edges and the uppermost step consists of a single stone block. This in turn supports a rectangular stone 0.6m square and 1m high, decorated on all four sides with low relief carvings, now partly eroded so that only the most general characteristics can be discerned. This stone has the remains of a socket in its upper surface, suggesting that it originally formed the base to a shaft. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is surrounded by ornamental iron railings erected to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. The monument, which is in the Guardianship of the Secretary of State (a plaque is affixed to the north side of the brick plinth), includes the area defined by the railings, an area of 3m by 3m. Excluded from the scheduling are the railings and the tarmac surface although the ground beneath these features 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: 26703

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England and Wales, (1975), 315
Awdrey, W H, 'Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine' in Ludgershall Castle and its History, , Vol. 21, (1884), 324

End of official listing