Churchyard cross in All Saints' churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015456

Date first listed: 20-Mar-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Feb-1997


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross in All Saints' churchyard
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: Sedgemoor (District Authority)

Parish: Broomfield

National Grid Reference: ST 22431 32009

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.

Although the head of the cross is lost, the standing cross in the churchyard at Broomfield survives well as a visually impressive monument of the medieval period in what is likely to be its original location. The medieval cross relates to the 14th century Church of All Saints'.


The monument includes a standing cross situated in the churchyard, c.6m south of the Church of All Saints', Broomfield. The cross is supported by a flat stone slab on which sits a socket stone and shaft with decorated terminal. The stone slab is 0.9m square and flush with the ground surface. The socket stone has a square base with convex broaches at its corners forming an octagonal top. The base of the socket stone measures 0.85m across and has a total height of 0.6m. Each side of the octagonal top measures 0.4m. The socket for the shaft, in the centre of the upper surface of the socket stone, is 0.35m square. The 2.5m high shaft, square at the bottom, tapers with collared shafts running up each corner. It becomes octagonal in section for its top 0.3m, surmounted by an elaborate octagonal terminal which once supported a head. This is now missing. There is a slightly raised area of grass around the cross, and, on probing, stone was felt under the surface to a depth of c.0.2m and at a distance of 0.5m from the supporting slab. It is thought that this represents part of a buried calvary. The cross is dated to the late 13th century and is Listed Grade II*.

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: 28821

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 4-5

End of official listing