Medieval standing cross 10m west of Broomhill Cottage


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015179

Date first listed: 29-Jul-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Feb-1997


Ordnance survey map of Medieval standing cross 10m west of Broomhill Cottage
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Rampisham

National Grid Reference: ST 56430 02551


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 it has been removed from its original position, the medieval standing cross 10m west of Broomhill Cottage, Rampisham, is still a prominent feature of the village and remains an important example of its class.


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


The monument includes the remains of a village cross on a grass verge on the eastern side of the road 10m west of Broomhill Cottage, Rampisham. The Ham stone cross, probably of 14th century date, has a socket stone, now partly buried in the road verge which was previously recorded as being octagonal at the top and square at the base. Carvings are visible on the south and east sides of the cross while the Ordnance Survey benchmark on the socket stone is no longer visible. The cross shaft, set in a square socket hole run in with lead, is 0.35m square at the base and tapers towards the top, with moulded corners. The top of the cross has been broken off in antiquity and the shaft survives to a height of 1.5m. There is a poorly defined carving on the west face. The cross originally stood on the green opposite the Tigers Head Inn, 260m to the south west, which is now a modern road junction. It was moved to it present position during the incumbency of the Reverend William Pace (1794- 1845). The cross is Listed Grade II.

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


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

Legacy System number: 27456

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pope, A, Old Stone Crosses of Dorset, (1906), 92-94

End of official listing