Village cross at Clearwell


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014404

Date first listed: 12-Mar-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Village cross at Clearwell
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Gloucestershire

District: Forest of Dean (District Authority)

Parish: Newland

National Grid Reference: SO 57188 08061


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

Reasons for Designation

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on pilgrimages. Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to remote moorland locations. Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross, in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the `Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed base or show no evidence for a separate base at all. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth- fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

Despite the shaft and head being later than the calvary and pedestal, the village cross at Clearwell survives well with many of its original elements intact in what is likely to be its original location. Its position in the road makes it an imposing monument and a landmark in the village. The area of the village where it is situated is called `The Cross'.


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


The monument includes a village cross on a five step calvary in the village of Clearwell. The cross is complete and sits on a junction of three roads. The cross includes a five step calvary, pedestal, socket stone, shaft and head. The first step of the calvary is 4.4m square and 0.3m high, the next step is 3.8m square and 0.25m high. The remaining three steps rising from this are 3.1m, 2.45m, and 1.8m square and 0.3m, 0.25m and 0.3m high respectively. These five steps are composed of old weathered stones now cemented together. Above this the pedestal is in the form of four Gothic style niches each 1.15m long and c.1.8m high. On the top of the pedestal is a block of squared stone c.0.7m square. All these features are built of grey forest stone and appear to be contemporary representing the oldest part of the cross. The shaft, with broaches at its base, is an octagonal pillar c.2.2m high, surmounted by circular mouldings and a cross. The stone blocks of the calvary and the pedestal are of early 14th century date, but the shaft and head are Victorian, designed by John Middleton in 1866 at the time he built St Peter's Church in the village. The cross is Listed Grade II. Excluded from the scheduling are the cobbles which surround the base of the cross, the concrete and metal bollards at the four corners of the cross base and the metalled road surface where this falls within the cross's protective margin, although the ground beneath all of these features 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: 28514

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, (1970), 161
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 61-65

End of official listing