Village cross


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Village cross
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Sedgemoor (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 43656 47849

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.

Despite a number of elements of the cross being missing, and having been moved from its original location, Wedmore village cross still has its shaft and head intact, and carries with it a history of being the official site of fairs and markets in the village. The cross now stands in front of a house in which local tradition says Judge Jeffreys lodged, and it was on this cross, when it stood in the Shambles, that he is said to have hanged a doctor, because he helped to dress the wounds of a dying Puritan.


The monument includes a cross set back from the pavement on the east side of a street called `The Borough' in the village of Wedmore. The cross is in a small enclosure which is topped by railings on its north, south and east sides, with an iron railing gate on the west side providing access to the pavement. The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, has five modern calvary steps leading up to a plinth, socket stone, and shaft with a decorated terminal and a square lantern head. Each step of the calvary is 0.34m high, making a total height for all the steps of 1.7m. All steps extend to the full width of the enclosed area, a distance of 2.95m. On the platform created by the top step lies the plinth. The platform is 2.95m wide north-south, and 3.2m long east-west. The plinth is set 0.7m from the front, or west edge of the platform, and is 0.4m from the south edge of the platform. The plinth is 1.13m long north-south, 1.2m long east-west and is 0.2m high. On this sits the square socket stone which is 0.85m long and 0.55m high. It has a groove around its upper surface with a drain at one corner. In its centre is a square, lead lined, socket measuring 0.35m across. The c.2.2m high shaft, square at the bottom, tapers to the square cross head and becomes octagonal in section. The shaft ends in a decorated, crown-like, terminal surmounted by a lantern head. The lantern head has a knight on its south side, a priest on its north side, Holy Rood on its east side and The Virgin and Child on its west side. The cross originally stood at a road junction c.100m to the north in an area of the village called the Shambles and beside a bridge over the Lerburn stream. It appears to have been moved in the early 19th century, and now stands in front of a house in which Judge Jeffreys is said to have lodged. The calvary is constructed from stone blocks cemented together. The steps and the socket stone are newer than the shaft and head, and are thought to date from when the cross was moved. The cross is considered to be late 14th century.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 114-115


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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