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Medieval standing cross near the junction of the High Street and Gold Street, 240m south east of St Mary's Church

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: Medieval standing cross near the junction of the High Street and Gold Street, 240m south east of St Mary's Church

List entry Number: 1014850

Location

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

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Stalbridge

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 21-Nov-1924

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Jul-1996

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 27391

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.

Despite the fact that the head has been replaced, the medieval standing cross 240m south east of St Mary's, Stalbridge, is well preserved and, surviving in its original position, remains an important example of its class.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a stone cross, dated to the second half of the 15th century, situated 240m south east of St Mary's Church, Stalbridge on the eastern side of the High Street at its widest point near a road junction. The cross has an octagonal base of three steps above an octagonal chamfered plinth of which 0.14m is visible above the pavement. The bottom step consists of one large block 0.26m deep overlain by single thinner slabs, up to 0.14m deep. Each side is c.1.2m long. The second step is up to 0.17m deep, sloping up to the centre, and each side is c.0.9m long. The upper step is 0.18m deep, sloping up to the centre, and each side is 0.7m long. Above this is a square plinth with a chamfered base, 0.52m high and c.1m square, with mouldings on each corner. There were previously carvings visible on each face but these are now worn. The tapering cross shaft is square at its base, 0.45m square, and octagonal above. A corbel projecting from the west face supports a carved figure which is now too worn to be recognised. The cross head is a modern replacement of the original which fell down in 1950. This is recorded in a plaque at the base which reads `This is a 15th century cross (built of Marnhull stone). The top was replaced in 1950'. The cobbled and paved areas surrounding the cross are excluded from the scheduling, where they fall within the cross's protective margin, although the ground beneath these features is included. The cross is Listed Grade II*.

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

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Hutchins, J, History of Dorset: Volume III, (1861), 674

National Grid Reference: ST 73489 17997

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. 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 - 1014850 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 19-Nov-2017 at 06:05:06.

End of official listing