Churchyard cross in St Andrew's churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015514

Date first listed: 18-Jan-1977

Date of most recent amendment: 23-Dec-1996


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

District: North Somerset (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Loxton

National Grid Reference: ST 37626 55812


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.

Although the top part of the shaft and the cross head are not original, the standing cross in the churchyard at Loxton 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 church of St Andrew which had its origins in the Norman period, but is largely 14th century.


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


The monument includes a restored cross cut into the east facing slope of the churchyard at Loxton, 3.7m south of the church.

The cross has an octagonal three step calvary, a socket stone and shaft with octagonal finial and square lantern cross head. The first step of the calvary is 0.4m high, and the second and third steps are each 0.3m high. The first step is 2.7m in diameter with drip moulding on its upper surface, and the sides of its octagon vary between 1.1m and 1.3m long. The second and third steps have octagonal sides of 0.9m and 0.6m respectively. Above the third step is a socket stone with square base 0.8m wide and 0.5m high. Broaches at the angles of the stone result in an octagonal top. The central socket is 0.4m square, and in this is cemented the 0.35m wide base of the shaft. The shaft, square at its base, is then stopped and continues in octagonal form as it tapers to its top. The shaft is c.2.5m high and jointed c.0.5m from its top where it has been restored. At the top of the shaft is an octagonal moulding, above which is a square lantern cross head, both of which are part of the restoration. The cross head has four canopied niches. On the east and west sides respectively are the Madonna with Child and Holy Rood, on the south an ecclesiastical figure, and on the north a saint. The cross is Listed Grade II.

The calvary is constructed from stone blocks, and the socket stone is hewn from one piece of stone. Probing around the area of the calvary did not suggest that there was stone below the surface, but a 19th century account of the cross indicates that there may be a further calvary step below ground. The cross is considered to date to the 15th century. It was restored by the local Tiarks family in 1910.

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: 28836

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 171

End of official listing