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Churchyard cross in St Margaret's churchyard

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Churchyard cross in St Margaret's churchyard

List entry Number: 1015458

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: Sedgemoor

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Spaxton

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 15-Jun-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Jan-1997

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 28823

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 standing cross in the churchyard at Spaxton 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 13th century church of St Margaret.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a cross situated in the churchyard of St Margaret's Church, Spaxton, 7.2m south east of the church porch. The cross has a three step calvary, a socket stone and shaft with square cross head. The first two steps are octagonal, and the third is square. The first step of the calvary is 0.55m high, and the second and third steps are each 0.2m high. The first step is 2.5m in diameter with mortared flagstones on its upper surface, and each side of its octagon is 1m long. The second step has a diameter of 1.8m, each side of its octagon being 0.8m long. The third step is 1.1m square, above which is an octagonal socket stone 0.9m in diameter and 0.45m high, each side of its octagon being 0.35m. The socket stone has a decoration of a blank shield on each of its eight faces. The central socket is 0.4m square and lined with lead in which sits the c.2.5m high shaft, square at its base, but then stopped and continuing in octagonal form as it tapers to its top. The shaft is jointed c.0.9m from its top and carries a round moulding and square cross head. The cross head has four canopied niches. On the east and west sides is the Holy Rood, on the south a female figure in prayer, and on the north a priest. The cross is Listed Grade I. The calvary is constructed from stone blocks and mortared flagstones. The socket stone is hewn from one piece of stone. The cross lies on a small rise c.0.1m high, and probing in this area suggests there is stone c.0.2m below the surface to a distance of 0.6m from the first calvary step which could indicate a further calvary step below ground. The cross is considered to date to the 14th century.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 149-150

National Grid Reference: ST 22531 37018

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1015458 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 16-Dec-2017 at 07:23:22.

End of official listing