This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Standing cross in the churchyard of the Church of the Holy Cross at Woodchurch

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: Standing cross in the churchyard of the Church of the Holy Cross at Woodchurch

List entry Number: 1015601

Location

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

County:

District: Wirral

District Type: Metropolitan Authority

Parish:

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 22-Jul-1997

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 27606

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 Woodchurch is an unusual survival of both the shaft and base with its steps in this region.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a standing cross 8m south of the south wall of the chancel of the parish church at Woodchurch. It consists of two steps and a cross base carved from a single block of local sandstone. Let into the base block is the shaft of a sundial and a modern crosshead has been attached to this shaft to convert it into a high cross to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The two steps measure 1.97m by 1.9m by 0.15m above the ground and 1.47m by 1.45m by 0.25m high respectively. The base block measures 0.65m by 0.65m and stands 0.34m high. These features are medieval and show appropriate signs of wear on the top surfaces of the steps. The sundial shaft is a single block of sandstone tapering towards the top from 0.32m by 0.32m to 0.25m by 0.25m. The edges of this shaft are deeply chamfered and rise out of the square socket hole with a small shoulder foliate decoration. This section would date from the early 16th century. The simple wheel headed cross with the inscription to Queen Victoria dates from 1887. The inscription indicates that the cross was formed from a sundial; `I used to tell the hours of the life that passeth away but now I point to that which is eternal.' The cross is in its original position and its conversion to a sundial may have saved at least part of the original shaft as well as the base at the time of the iconoclasm of the Reformation. Grave slabs to the south and west of the cross are not included in the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

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.

Selected Sources

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

National Grid Reference: SJ 27584 86825

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 - 1015601 .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 24-Nov-2017 at 02:10:39.

End of official listing