Churchyard cross in St Michael's churchyard


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


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross in St Michael's churchyard
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. 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 - 1015512 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 19-Oct-2019 at 07:43:20.


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

North Somerset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 55736 66869

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 St Michael's churchyard 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 15th century tower of the Church of St Michael.


The monument includes a cross situated in the churchyard at Dundry 6m north west of the west porch of the church.

The cross has a four step octagonal calvary, an octagonal plinth, a socket stone and shaft with an ornamental crocketed finial. The first step of the calvary is 5m in diameter and 0.55m high. Each side of its octagon is 2m wide. The second and third steps are 0.35m high, and the fourth step is 0.33m high. The width of the octagonal sides of the second, third and fourth steps are 1.6m, 1.3m and 1m respectively. The first step has moulding on its upper and lower beds, that on the upper projects to produce a bench-like effect. Above the fourth step of the calvary is an octagonal plinth 1.7m in diameter and 0.35m high. Each side of its octagon is 0.7m wide, and the faces of the plinth are parallel to those of the calvary, with a decoration of triangles on the angles. Alternate triangles have dowl holes in their upper surface. The socket stone has a square base 1.15m in diameter and 0.95m high. There are four square shafts at the angles with projecting bases and caps, forming an octagonal upper bed. Each face of the socket stone has a recessed decoration of a pair of trefoil headed arches. The lead lined central socket is 0.45m square in which sits the shaft which is c.3m high. The shaft is square at its base, but then stopped and continues in octagonal form as it tapers to the cross head. The decoration on the cross head is a copy of that on the socket stone with shafts at its corners and pairs of arches on its faces. Above this is a crocketed top.

The calvary is constructed from stone blocks and mortared flagstones. The socket stone is hewn from one piece of stone. The ornamental cross head is a 19th century replacement for its original canopied head. The cross is considered to date to the 15th 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), 60-62


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].