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Churchyard cross, St Michael's churchyard

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Churchyard cross, St Michael's churchyard

List entry Number: 1014691

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Warwickshire

District: North Warwickshire

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Maxstoke

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 01-Aug-1996

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 21645

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 Maxstoke is a good example of a medieval cross with a square socket-stone and an octagonal shaft. Situated near the south porch of the church, it is believed to stand in or near its original position and limited activity immediately surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction and use are likely to survive intact. The importance of the cross is enhanced by its continued use as a public monument and amenity from the medieval period through to the present day.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a standing stone cross located within the churchyard of St Michael's Church, Maxstoke, approximately 14m south east of the south porch. The cross is of stepped form and is medieval in date. It includes a base, consisting of a plinth and one step, a socket-stone, a shaft and the remains of an ornamental knop. The step is square in plan and constructed of ashlar blocks resting on a plinth which is 2m square. The socket-stone stands on the step and is approximately 0.75m square in section and standing to a height of just over 0.5m. Its corners are chamfered and moulded so that the top of the socket-stone has an octagonal section. Set into this socket-stone is a 2.58m high stone shaft, of square section at its base with chamfered corners tapering upwards in octagonal section. Surmounting the shaft is an ornamental, moulded knop to which the cross-head would have originally been attached. The surviving height of the cross is 2.8m. Immediately to the south and south west of St Michael's churchyard are the ruins and earthwork remains of Maxstoke Priory which are the subject of a separate scheduling. The grave marker to the north of the cross is totally excluded from the scheduling.

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.

Selected Sources

Other
RCHME, Maxstoke Priory - Archaeological Report, (1992)

National Grid Reference: SP 23603 86850

Map

Map
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© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1014691 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 18-Nov-2017 at 10:13:40.

End of official listing