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Churchyard cross SW of St Giles 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: Churchyard cross SW of St Giles Church

List entry Number: 1014898

Location

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

County:

District: Shropshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Shrewsbury

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 18-Nov-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: 27554

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.

Even though it is greatly restored, the cross in St Giles churchyard is a good example of a medieval standing cross with an octagonal socket stone and ornate head. Limited activity in the area immediately surrounding the cross suggests that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction and use in this location are likely to survive intact. While the socket stone has survived from medieval times, the subsequent restoration of the steps and head illustrates the continued function of the cross as a public monument and amenity. Documentary references to the history of the cross and the survival elsewhere of the original crosshead enhance interest in the monument.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross, situated 10m south west of the south porch of St Giles Church, Shrewsbury. The cross includes a stepped base which is a mid-20th century reconstruction, a medieval socket stone, and a shaft and ornamented head which are also 20th century restorations. The base is of two steps of concrete blocks, 1.85m square at the base. The socket stone is a limestone block, octagonal in plan and 0.4m diameter at the base. The sides rise 0.6m to a deeply chamfered rim. The shaft is square in section and tapers to a moulded neck and lantern head, with sculptured figural scenes on the north and south faces under an ornate canopy. The overall height of the monument is c.4m. Churchwardens' accounts refer to the medieval cross head being removed in 1584-6 and rediscovered c.1795. The restored head is a replica of this original, which is recorded as having been on display inside the church in the 1900s. The grave markers to the south west and north of the monument are excluded from the scheduling.

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

Selected Sources

Other
01550, churchyard crosses at St Giles Church,

National Grid Reference: SJ 50717 11819

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.
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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 - 1014898 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2017 at 10:12:45.

End of official listing