Churchyard cross 1m south of Clyst Hydon church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013617

Date first listed: 12-Sep-1995


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross 1m south of Clyst Hydon church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: East Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Clyst Hydon

National Grid Reference: ST 03543 01667


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.

Despite partial restoration, the churchyard cross 1m south of Clyst Hydon church survives comparatively well and is likely to be in its original position. Its location immediately next to the church porch means that it is a prominent feature within the graveyard.


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


This monument includes a churchyard cross 1m south of Clyst Hydon church. The cross survives as a 15th century socket stone and shaft, with a modern additional length of shaft, head and arms. The socket stone measures 1.3m in diameter by 0.32m high and is situated on the edge of a path immediately to the south of the church. In 1938 it was described as being square at the base and octagonal above, with a chamfered top, although only the octagonal upper portion is now clearly visible. The 1.42m high shaft, which is square at the base and octagonal above measures 0.42m square and tapers slightly upwards. Above, a second fragment of shaft has been added to extend the height of the cross and above this are the modern head and arms. The arms are 0.69m wide by 0.24m thick and the head is 0.32m high by 0.26m wide. The overall height of the head and arms is 0.8m whilst the cross as a whole stands 2.7m high. The cross is Listed Grade II. Excluded from the scheduling is the church 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 1 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: 27341

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), 331
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, ST00SW-001-01, (1989)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

End of official listing