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Churchyard cross in St Michael'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 Michael's churchyard

List entry Number: 1016130

Location

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

County:

District: County of Herefordshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Dewsall

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 24-Sep-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: 29852

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 remains of the churchyard cross at St Michael's represent a good example of a medieval standing cross with a square stepped base and a socket stone with a niche in its western face. Located immediately to the south of the church, it is believed to stand in or near its original position. The cross shows no evidence of restoration and has continued in use as a public monument and amenity from medieval times up to the present day.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located within the churchyard of St Michael's Church, approximately 5m to the south east of the porch. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is of stepped form and is medieval in date. It includes a base of two steps and a socket stone, and the remains of the shaft. The steps are square in plan and constructed of rectangular sandstone blocks. The bottom step measures 1.75m square and the top step 1.21m square. The socket stone is square in plan, with the top corners bevelled to form an irregular octagon. It measures 0.67m square by 0.56m high. The underside of the stone is uneven. Cut into the west face of the socket stone is a roundheaded niche, 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. A square shaped socket hole exists on the upper surface of the socket stone. It measures 0.23m square by at least 0.19m deep. This would originally have held the shaft and now holds a shaft fragment over 0.51m long and 0.15m in diameter, and octagonal in section. This is thought to represent a middle section of the original cross shaft. The height of the base is 0.98m. The surface of the pathway to the south west of the cross is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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

Books and journals
Marples, B, 'Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club' in The Niche in Medieval Churchyard Crosses, (1972), 327
Other
RCHM, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Herefordshire, (1931)

National Grid Reference: SO 48616 33484

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 17-Dec-2017 at 04:27:43.

End of official listing