Village cross at Lydney


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014405

Date first listed: 09-Jun-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Village cross at Lydney
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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: Lydney

National Grid Reference: SO 62967 02879


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 socket stone, shaft and head being later than the calvary and pedestal, the village cross at Lydney 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 town.


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


The monument includes a village cross on an eight step calvary, situated in the town of Lydney. The cross is complete and sits on a junction of three roads. The cross includes an eight step calvary, pedestal, socket stone, shaft, and head. The first step of the calvary is 7.25m square and 0.3m high. The other seven steps rising from this decrease in size with the top step being 2.45m square. Each step is c.0.3m high. These eight steps are composed of old weathered stone blocks cemented together. Above this is a square plinth 1.56m long and 0.2m high which bears the pedestal or capital. The capital is in the form of four canopied niches c.2m high. All these features are built of grey forest stone. They appear to be contemporary and represent the oldest part of the cross. The socket stone, shaft and cross extend for another 3m beyond the capital. The total height of the cross is c.7m. The stone blocks of the calvary and the capital are early 14th century, but the shaft and head are later. A plate of the cross depicted in Pooley's notes published in 1868 shows the cross without socket stone and shaft. It also shows the bottom step to have originally been much deeper, but now hidden by the higher level of the tarmac road. The cross is Listed Grade II. Excluded from the scheduling are the 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 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: 28515

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 61-65

End of official listing