Churchyard cross 2m south east of Sandford church porch
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1013609
Date first listed: 12-Sep-1995
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Mid Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SS 82870 02516
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.
Despite restoration, the churchyard cross 2m south east of Sandford church porch survives well. The cross is likely to be in its original position and is clearly visible within the churchyard. A shallow recess cut into one face of the cross is an unusual feature.
This monument includes a churchyard cross 2m south east of Sandford church
porch. It lies on a verge between two paths through the churchyard and is a
good example of a 14th to 15th century cross. The cross survives as a socket
stone, shaft, head and arms. It has a small rectangular recess on the southern
side between its arms. The shaft was broken in the distant past, but now the
parts are restored.
The socket stone is partially buried and now stands 0.17m high. Only the
chamfered upper octagonal top is clearly visible, although the corners can
just be discerned so it is likely to be square at the base. The octagonal top
has a diameter of 0.77m, and the length of each side is 0.6m.
Within the socket stone is a shaft which is square at the base and octagonal
above. The base of the shaft measures 0.36m square and tapers upwards for
1.3m, at which point the join from the restoration is clearly visible. Above
the join, the shaft is still octagonal and tapers to 0.29m square below the
arms. At the arms the cross is 0.71m wide. The overall height of the cross is
On the southern face of the cross between the arms is a small rectangular
recess. This measures 0.23m long by 0.12m wide and 0.03m deep.
The cross is Listed Grade II*.
Excluded from the scheduling is the metalled path surface where it falls
within the cross's protective margin, although the ground beneath the path
surface is included.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 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: 27325
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Masson Phillips, E M, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon, Part 2, , Vol. 70, (1938), 320-321
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS70SE-003, (1990)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing