Churchyard cross in St Bartholomew's churchyard

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014420

Date first listed: 10-Jul-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross in St Bartholomew's churchyard
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Gloucestershire

District: Cotswold (District Authority)

Parish: Whittington

National Grid Reference: SP 01332 20646

Summary

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 Whittington is believed to be in its original position. It is of unusual design and survives well as a visually impressive monument of the medieval period. Around 70m to the south west of the cross are the two `L' shaped arms of a moated site comprising part of the moat and the corresponding parts of an internal and external bank. Some 150m to the east of the cross are extensive earthworks of a deserted medieval village traversed by a hollow way c.0.8m deep. House platforms are visible as low earthworks. At the southern end of the deserted medieval village is a Romano-British villa.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a standing cross situated in the churchyard at Whittington c.0.5m east of St Bartholomew's Church. The cross has a socket stone and shaft. The socket is an octagon with large broaches at alternate faces; these are convex at the top with parallel sides like buttresses. The base of the socket stone measures 0.75m across and has a total height of 0.45m. The sides of the octagonal measure 0.35m. The socket for the shaft is 0.25m square. The shaft, square at the bottom, tapers and becomes octagonal in section. It is c.2.5m high, having a fluted moulding and tenon on the top for inserting into the head. The socket stone appears more weathered than the shaft and is hewn from one piece of stone. These have the appearance of being of different dates. The socket is probably early 14th century, but the shaft is 15th century or later. The cross is Listed Grade II.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 28502

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, (1970), 471
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 2-3

End of official listing