Village cross

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015133

Date first listed: 03-Jan-1997

Map

Ordnance survey map of Village cross
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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: Down Ampney

National Grid Reference: SU0971896977

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on pilgrimages. Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to remote moorland locations. Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross, in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the `Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed base or show no evidence for a separate base at all. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth- fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

Despite the shaft and head being later than the other parts of the cross, the village cross at Down Ampney survives well with many of its original elements intact in what is likely to be its original location. Its position in the centre of the village makes it an imposing monument and landmark.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a restored village cross situated on a triangular green in the village of Down Ampney at the junction of three roads. The cross has a square three step calvary, a socket stone, and a restored shaft surmounted by a restored cross head of lantern design. The first step of the calvary is 2.75m long and 0.6m high, the second step is 2m long and 0.35m high, and the third step is 1.4m long and 0.3m high. Above this is the square socket stone which is 0.92m wide at its base, narrowing to 0.75m wide at its top and 0.6m in height. The shaft is c.2m high topped by a decorated terminal and above this is a latern-shaped head. On the north face of the lantern is a depiction of the crucifixion, and on the south face a decoration of the letters IS intertwined. The remaining two sides of the lantern have a lattice decoration. The shaft, square at the bottom, tapers to become octagonal in section. The calvary is constructed from stone blocks. The socket stone is hewn from one piece of stone. These have the appearance of some age, but the shaft and head are 19th century. In 1875 the base was in situ without shaft or top canopy. An inscription on the base of the shaft commemorates its restoration, to the memory of Paul Butler, in 1878. The other parts of the cross are considered to be medieval.

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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 28801

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, (1970), 219-220
Other
Gloucestershire County Council, Sites and Monuments Record for Gloucestershire,

End of official listing