Medieval cross base 150m south of Holy Rood Church
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1013675 .pdf
The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.
This copy shows the entry on 16-Sep-2019 at 01:34:50.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- North Dorset (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- ST 82461 11316
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 the loss of the original shaft and its replacement by a 19th century replica the base of the standing cross at Shillingstone survives in its original position and remains an important example of its class.
The monument includes the base of a late medieval standing cross situated on
the east side of the Blandford Road close to its junction with Church Road. At
this point the Blandford Road is known as The Cross.
The cross has a stone base, surmounted by two stone steps, a socket stone and
a cross shaft and head. The base stone is square, 3m by 2.9m and 0.1m high,
with moulded sides and corners. The lower step is 2.9m by 2.85m and 0.5m
high, and the upper step 1m by 1.05m and 0.55m high. Above the upper step is a
square chamfered plinth 1.25m square and 0.55m high on which rests a socket
stone of Ham stone, 1.05m square and 0.55m high. This stone is octagonal at
the top and square at the base with four sunken panels which were originally
carved but are now very worn. The original square shaft, which has been sawn
off level with the top of the socket, was set diagonally in the socket stone
and was run in with lead. The present cross shaft was erected on the base in
1891 and the elaborate head, in 15th century style, at a later date. The cross
is Listed Grade II.
The cross shaft and head are excluded from the scheduling. Also excluded from
the scheduling are all paved and metalled surfaces which fall within the
protective margin around the cross, although the ground beneath 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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Pope, A, Old Stone Crosses of Dorset, (1906), 106-7
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