Village cross at the junction of High Street and Station Road

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014828

Date first listed: 30-Aug-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Village cross at the junction of High Street and Station Road
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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: South Cerney

National Grid Reference: SU0490697026

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.

Despite the shaft and head having been restored, the standing cross in the village of South Cerney survives well with part of its original elements intact and in what is likely to be its original location. Its position at the road junction makes the monument a local landmark and a tangible link with the medieval period. It is one of several Gloucestershire medieval village crosses.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a restored village cross (Grade II Listed) situated at a road junction in the village of South Cerney. The cross has a square three step calvary, a socket stone, shaft and head. The first step of the calvary is 2.4m wide and 0.1m high, the second step is 1.9m wide and 0.25m high, and the third step is 1.3m wide and 0.25m high. Above this is the socket stone, 0.7m across, with the octagonal base of the cross shaft balanced on it. The shaft is c.2.1m high surmounted by a stone ball and iron cross. The calvary is constructed from stone blocks, and belongs to the old structure, but the socket stone and shaft appear to have been added later. The ball and cross are modern, though in position in the mid-19th century. The oldest parts of the cross are considered to be 15th century.

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: 28524

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 31
Other
Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Sites and Monuments Record,

End of official listing