Standing cross in the churchyard of St Chad's Church, Over, 10m from the south wall of the chancel


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013782

Date first listed: 03-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Standing cross in the churchyard of St Chad's Church, Over, 10m from the south wall of the chancel
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Winsford

National Grid Reference: SJ 65019 65065


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.

The standing cross at Over survives well in spite of the loss of the head. Its reuse as a sundial reflects the attitude of more puritan churchgoers in the centuries after its construction. The cross is in its original location and the fragment of Anglo-Saxon sculpture inside the church may be part of an earlier version of the kind of preaching cross which stands on the south side of many churches in Britain. The cross serves to remind us of the piety of the religious and the skill of the monumental sculptor in the late medieval period.


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


The monument includes a cross base and fragment of the cross shaft on the south side of the parish church at Over. The cross stands in its original position and was erected as a preaching cross early in the 16th century. The cross consists of an octagonal plinth in three stages forming steps up to the square base block with an elaborate shaft fragment fixed to the socket. The plinth is constructed from sandstone blocks and the first step measures 3.8m in width, with facets 1.38m long and 0.23m in height. The third step is slightly smaller and has facets measuring 1.08m long and 0.23m high. The width of the step is 3.2m. The second step has facets 0.88m long and 0.23m high and measures 2.4m in width. The base is formed from a single block measuring 0.78m on the north side and 0.69m on the west side. It stands 0.37m high. There is no apparent socket hole and the shaft is fixed onto the base with cement and probably a mortice and tenon joint. The shaft is of sandstone squared at the base and cut in facets to form an octagonal section to the broken top. It stands 0.93m high on the base. The plinth steps are no longer mortared together and show no signs of iron ties to keep them in line. The top of the broken shaft has been sawn off level to form a surface for a brass sundial. This is inscribed to the memory of Wm Thompson and Hugh Woodford, churchwardens and the date 1745. Inside the church is a fragment of Anglo-Saxon sculpture but this is not connected with this monument and is not included in the scheduling. The present cross may have replaced a much earlier original since many of the earliest crosses are erected on this side of the churches in other parts of Britain. This cross is Listed Grade II.

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: 25706

Legacy System: RSM


Cheshire County Council Planning Dept, (1994)

End of official listing