Upton cross in old churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015289

Date first listed: 24-May-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Dec-1996


Ordnance survey map of Upton cross in old churchyard
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Worcestershire

District: Malvern Hills (District Authority)

Parish: Upton-upon-Severn

National Grid Reference: SO 85190 40672


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.

The cross at Upton upon Severn is a good example of a medieval standing cross with an octagonal socket stone. Limited development 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. Documentary references to the cross and its association with others along the Upton to Rhydd road further enhance interest in the monument. While elements of the cross have survived since medieval times, the restoration of the head and the adoption of the cross as a war memorial has resulted in its continued function as a public monument and amenity.


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


The monument includes a standing stone cross, situated in the churchyard of the disused church at Upton upon Severn. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, takes the form of a medieval socket stone and shaft, surmounted by an 18th century sundial. The cross is now set in an old cider mill and serves as a war memorial. The medieval socket stone is octagonal in plan and measures 0.86m in diameter at the base. The socket stone is 0.76m high, and its edges are chamfered half way up to a diameter of 0.68m. The shaft is octagonal in section and has a diameter of 0.32m at the base. The cross head is set on a moulded neck and takes the form of a lantern sundial with four gabled faces, and is surmounted by a scrolled iron vane. The monument formerly stood at Cross Roads and was restored in the 18th century by the owners of Ham Court, in whose grounds it stood until the house was demolished. Since 1920 the cross has been in its present location, set in a cider mill which is 1.8m in diameter, and the socket stone now supports two plaques commemorating the World Wars. The cross is believed to be one of the four recorded by Noake around 1847 along the Upton to Rhydd road. Two of the others are scheduled separately, SM27538 and SM27549. The churchyard wall is completely excluded from the scheduling where it falls within the cross's protective margin.

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: 29371

Legacy System: RSM


Ancient monument description, Upton upon Severn,Upton Cross,

End of official listing