Churchyard cross in St Michael's churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014400

Date first listed: 02-Apr-1965

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross in St Michael's churchyard
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Gloucestershire

District: Cotswold (District Authority)

Parish: Duntisbourne Rouse

National Grid Reference: SO9853906037


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 churchyard cross at Duntisbourne Rouse is believed to be in its original position, and survives well as a visually impressive monument. It is reputed to be of early medieval date thus relating to the church in the precinct of which it lies.


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


The monument includes a standing cross situated in the churchyard at Duntisbourne Rouse c.20m south east of the church. The churchyard slopes from west to east and the cross is built into the slope. The cross includes a substructure, square step, a socket stone, shaft, thickened terminal and head. The substructure is composed of weathered stone slabs which form a base 1.4m square and 0.1m high. Above this the step is composed of four large stones forming a square with sides 1.4m long and 0.4m high. The square socket stone, which has hollowed sides and a fillet running around it c.0.2m from the bottom, is 0.9m square at its base narrowing to 0.75m and is 0.65m high. The slender octagonal shaft, c.2.5m high, is mortised with lead into a socket 0.25m square. At the top of the shaft is a thickened terminal in the form of two light circular mouldings above which is the head bearing the remains of carved figures in broken canopies. The socket stone is hewn from one piece of stone. It is considered that the cross is early medieval. The cross is Listed Grade II.

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: 28509

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, (1970), 223-4
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 32-33

End of official listing