Cross in All Saints' churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015135

Date first listed: 18-Oct-1996


Ordnance survey map of Cross in All Saints' churchyard
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Gloucestershire

District: Forest of Dean (District Authority)

Parish: Newland

National Grid Reference: SO 55307 09509


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 churchyard at Newland survives well with many of its original elements intact in what is likely to be its original location. The cross is Listed Grade II. It has two unusual features notably the convex broaches and the sculptured niche on the socket stone, the latter reputedly used as a reliquary on the occasion of divine service being celebrated there. The medieval cross lies close to All Saints' Church which was built c.1200 AD. The church was extended over the next 200 years, when it reached its final, present form.


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


The monument includes a restored cross situated in the churchyard at Newland c.20m south east of All Saints' Church. It has a square five step calvary, a socket stone, a restored shaft with decorated terminal surmounted by the cross. The first step of the calvary is 4.2m wide and 0.4m high; the second step is 3.42m wide and 0.3m high; the third, fouth and fifth steps are 2.8m, 2.2m and 1.55m long respectively and are all 0.3m high. Above the calvary is the square socket stone which has convex broaches at its angles, forming an octagonal top. It is 0.95m wide and 0.75m high. In the east face of the socket stone is a niche with a trefoiled head. The shaft, which is c.2m high, sits on a 0.5m square plinth which is 0.23m high. This restored shaft is square at the bottom and tapers to the restored cross head becoming octagonal in section. The cross head is composed of four canopied niches, facing the four cardinal points, each containing the sculptured figure of an angel with outspread wings. The whole is surmounted by a cross. The calvary is constructed from stone blocks. The socket stone is hewn from one piece of stone. These have the appearance of great age, but the shaft and head are more recent. In the work of the 19th century reconstruction, it was found necessary to remove the steps which had sunk and become almost a ruin. The stones were marked and reset in their old positions, with care not to disturb the weather staining on their surface but the base was too damaged to be retained as the base of a new cross, and was therefore accurately copied in new sound stone. On the bottom of the new shaft is the inscription `This Cross was restored in memory of Margaret Birt AD 1864'. The niche in the socket stone is thought to have been used as a reliquary on the occasion of divine service being celebrated there. The oldest parts of the cross are considered to be 14th century. The cross is Listed Grade II.

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.


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

Legacy System number: 28803

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 66
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 65

End of official listing