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Churchyard cross 12m south of Sampford Courtenay church

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 12m south of Sampford Courtenay church

List entry Number: 1015607

Location

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

County: Devon

District: West Devon

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Sampford Courtenay

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 12-Dec-1995

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: 27308

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 churchyard cross 12m south of Sampford Courtenay church is in good condition despite the truncation of the pedestal. The pedestal is likely to be in its original position; the cross is of similar date, but may have been imported from elsewhere. This is one of several crosses recorded in Sampford Courtenay, representing an unusally rich concentration in this area.

History

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

Details

This monument includes a churchyard cross situated 12m south of Sampford Courtenay church. It has an almost octagonal pedestal (partly cut away on the western side by a pathway) with two steps, with an octagonal cross with head and arms above. The lower step has been set into the slope of the churchyard. Its overall diameter is 2.1m and the length of each side is 1.12m. The pedestal stands up to 0.42m high, but this decreases to 0.15m on the east. The upper step is octagonal with a diameter of 1.82m. The length of each side is 1.03m and it is 0.56m high. Both steps are constructed with large slabs of granite and both have coved projecting tops. The truncated western side of the pedestal has been faced with large slabs of granite, although the coving of the upper step remains intact. Inserted into the top of the upper step is a medieval cross. The base of the cross measures 0.23m square with pointed stops; the shaft therefore becomes octagonal as it tapers upwards. Beneath the arms the cross measures 0.16m wide. The arms and head are rectangular in section. The width at the arms is 0.37m. The cross is 1.02m high, is quite crude and out of proportion to the base. Excluded from the scheduling is the metalled path surface where it falls within the cross's protective margin, although the ground beneath is included. The cross is Listed Grade II.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 334-335
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS60SW-015,
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

National Grid Reference: SS 63238 01245

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.
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This copy shows the entry on 24-Nov-2017 at 02:14:49.

End of official listing