Churchyard cross 8m north of Clyst St Lawrence church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014706

Date first listed: 11-Oct-1995


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross 8m north of Clyst St Lawrence church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

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 - 1014706 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 21-Feb-2019 at 11:45:29.


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

County: Devon

District: East Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Clyst St. Lawrence

National Grid Reference: SY 02673 99988

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 8m north of Clyst St Lawrence church survives well and is likely to be in its original position. The cross is a good example of an elaborate and highly ornamented standing cross and is thought to be the only one in Devon with a bracketed niche on the shaft. Although the upper portion of the canopied head has been damaged it still retains much of its decoration.


This monument includes a churchyard cross 8m north of Clyst St Lawrence church. The cross survives as a pedestal with two circular steps, an octagonal socket stone resting on a low plinth, a decorated square shaft and canopy head. The pedestal is built into the hillside of the churchyard and its lower step is plain, built from coursed stone, has a diameter of 3.08m and is 0.8m high. The upper step has a coved upper edge, a diameter of 2.08m and is 0.42m high. Above is a low octagonal and chamfered plinth for the socket stone. This has a diameter of 1.18m, the length of each octagonal side is 0.47m and it is 0.16m high. The socket stone has a chamfered top edge, rests on this plinth, is octagonal and has a diameter of 0.97m. The length of each octagonal side is 0.43m and it is 0.6m high. The shaft measures 0.36m square at the base, tapers slightly upwards, and is ornamented on each angle. On the eastern face of the shaft there is an elaborately carved canopied niche, now empty, bracketed out from the surface of the shaft, which is the only known example of its kind in Devon. At a height of 2.25m there is an ornamented knop, above which is the damaged lower portion of a highly ornamented canopy head which measures 1m high. The cross is Listed Grade II. Excluded from the scheduling is the church path surface where it falls within the cross's protective margin, although the ground beneath the path surface is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 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: 27342

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 69
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SY09NW-001-01, (1972)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

End of official listing