Wayside cross at Calmsden


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015423

Date first listed: 03-Jan-1997


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross at Calmsden
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Gloucestershire

District: Cotswold (District Authority)

Parish: North Cerney

National Grid Reference: SP 04543 08634


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.

The wayside cross at Calmsden survives well, and with the exception of the cross head, with all of its original elements intact in what is likely to be its original location. The cross has been linked with the Knights Hospitallers of Jerusalem, and is unusual in its pentagonal calvary and socket stone. The cross is erected over what is suggested to be a holy spring.


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


The monument includes a cross situated on a roadside verge at Calmsden. The cross lies at the bottom of a south facing grass slope. The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, has a four step pentagonal calvary, a socket stone, and a shaft with a square terminal. The first step of the calvary is 0.4m high and varies between 2.85m and 2.95m wide; the second step is 0.3m high and between 2.3m and 2.4m wide; the third and fourth steps are also 0.3m high and are 1.8m to 1.85m and 1.25m to 1.35m wide respectively. Above this is the pentagonal socket stone, each side of which is 0.7m long. The socket stone is 0.55m high with a square socket at its centre measuring 0.35m across. The 2.5m high shaft, square at the bottom, tapers to the square cross head and becomes hexagonal in section. The shaft and head appear to be made of the same stone. A spring emerges from a conduit about 0.3m below the base of the calvary and empties into a metal trough. It has been suggested that this is a holy spring, and that the cross was erected to mark its site, but there is no direct evidence for this. The calvary is constructed from stone blocks. The socket stone is hewn from one piece of stone as is the shaft and head. It is thought that the cross head is later in date than the rest of the cross. The cross is considered to be 14th century, and it has been observed that it was perhaps erected to mark the ownership, by the Knights Hospitallers, of land at Calmsden.

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: 28528

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, (1970), 338
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 70-71

End of official listing