Churchyard cross in Holy Rood churchyard


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross in Holy Rood churchyard
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cotswold (District Authority)
Ampney Crucis
National Grid Reference:

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 in Holy Rood churchyard, Ampney Crucis, is believed to be in its original position; it is also thought to be the cross from which the parish took its name. The restored head was found in the church and belongs to the cross. The cross and head, now brought back together, survive well as a visually impressive monument of the medieval period. This cross is one of a pair of crosses in Ampney Crucis, the other being a wayside cross c.130m to the east.


The monument includes a restored standing cross situated in the churchyard at Ampney Crucis c.8m south of the church. The cross has a square two step calvary, a socket stone, shaft and restored head. The base of the calvary is 2.3m square and 0.45m high; the second step is 1.55m square and 0.3m high. Above this the octagonal socket stone, which has a deep drip moulding on its upper face, is 0.75m square at its base, then runs into the octagonal, each side being 0.25m long; above this is the drip moulding which overlaps the octagonal by 0.025m. The whole socket stone is 0.55m high. The shaft, square at the bottom, sits in a socket which is 0.3m square. Above this it tapers, with octagonal section, to the restored head. The shaft is formed of two stones joined by an iron bracket, with a total height of c.1.4m. At the top of the shaft is an octagonal decoration which appears to be of more recent construction. The head, which was found in the church and later restored to its position, is divided into four niches containing figures sculptured in relief. On the north side is the figure of a knight, on the south side a clerical figure, the Virgin and Child are on the west side, and the Crucifixion on the east side. The calvary is constructed from stone blocks. The socket stone is hewn from one piece of stone. It is considered that the style of armour on the carving of one of the figures on the head dates to 1415. It is thought that this is the cross from which the parish takes its name. The cross is Listed Grade I.

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:
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Books and journals
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 23-24
Ordnance Survey , Ordnance Survey Record Card SP 00 SE 1,


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

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