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Churchyard cross in St Dubricius'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 Dubricius's churchyard

List entry Number: 1016116


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


District: County of Herefordshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Whitchurch

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 11-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: 29860

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 in St Dubricius's churchyard is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a stepped base and a socket stone with a niche. Situated close to the south porch of the church it is believed to stand in or near to its original position. Whilst only the base and socket stone have survived from medieval times, the subsequent restoration of the shaft and the head illustrates the continued function of the cross as a public monument and amenity.


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


The monument includes a standing stone cross, located within the churchyard of St Dubricius's Church, approximately 4m to the south of the porch. The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, is of stepped form and includes a base of four steps and a socket stone which are medieval in date, and the shaft, the knop and the head, which are later additions.

The steps are circular in plan and are constructed of pink sandstone blocks. Immediately to the east of the bottom step, the remains of a lower step or foundation are visible. The socket stone is 0.68m high and mortared to the top step. It is circular in plan at the base, with a diameter of 0.9m, and is reduced by a bevel to a smaller circle, with a diameter of 0.7m. A large pointed niche cut into the west face of the socket stone is topped by a gabled roof, carved in low relief and flanked by slight ridges which extend to the base of the socket stone. The niche measures 0.4m high, 0.31m wide, 0.1m deep and is set 0.15m above the base of the socket stone. It is thought to have been carved to hold the Pyx or Holy Water when Mass was celebrated at the cross, or to hold a statue or icon. The shaft is mortised into the socket stone and bonded with mortar. It is 0.27m square at the base, reduced by a bevel to a smaller square and then by chamfered corners to an octagon. The shaft extends to a height of 1.7m, and is decorated with five quatrefoil florets on each of the four chamfered edges. The octagonal knop is elaborate and 0.2m high. It serves as a platform for the elaborate west-facing, ring- headed crucifix with foliate terminals. The shaft, knop and head are all modern additions. The overall height of the cross is approximately 3.9m.

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

Books and journals
Marples, B, 'Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club' in The Niche in Medieval Churchyard Crosses, , Vol. 40, (1972), 330
RCHM, An Inventory of the Monuments of Herefordshire, (1931)

National Grid Reference: SO 55616 17481


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This copy shows the entry on 19-Feb-2018 at 06:15:38.

End of official listing