Churchyard cross, St Peter and St Paul's Church

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015299

Date first listed: 13-Jun-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Dec-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross, St Peter and St Paul's Church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Weobley

National Grid Reference: SO 40194 51853

Summary

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 in St Peter and St Paul's churchyard is a good example of a medieval standing cross with an octagonal stepped base and decorated socket stone. It is believed to stand in its original position, and 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. While parts of the cross have survived from medieval times, its subsequent restoration illustrates its continued function as a public monument and amenity.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a standing stone cross, situated in the churchyard of St Peter and St Paul's Church, Weobley, c.25m east of the south porch. The cross has a stepped base and socket stone both dating to the 14th century, and a shaft and cross head which are of 19th century date. It is Listed Grade II. The base includes six steps which are octagonal in plan, and the lowest of which has subsided to below ground level. The maximum diameter of the base, including the buried step, is c.5.8m, and its height above ground level is 1.5m. The socket stone is square in plan at the base, with sides of 0.65m, and its angles are chamfered above broach stops, rising 0.4m to a moulded rim. The west face of the socket stone extends outwards for c.0.1m to enclose a trefoil headed niche, and the north, east and south faces are each decorated with trefoil headed panels, although the detail is very weathered. The shaft is square at the base, with sides of 0.23m. The corners are chamfered above broach stops. It rises c.1.1m, tapering slightly to a moulded neck. It is surmounted by a cross head 0.9m high, with expanded terminals and chamfered angles. The grave marker to the west of the cross is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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: 27571

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing