Cross in St Lawrence's churchyard

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016198

Date first listed: 12-Jun-1997

Map

Ordnance survey map of Cross in St Lawrence's churchyard
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. 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 - 1016198 .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 21-Oct-2018 at 01:23:24.

Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: North Somerset (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Wick St. Lawrence

National Grid Reference: ST 36650 65433

Summary

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.

Despite a number of elements of the cross being missing, the standing cross in the churchyard at Wick St. Lawrence survives in what is likely to be its original location. The medieval cross relates to the church of St. Lawrence which was erected c.1480. This is one of two crosses within sight of each other in the village.

History

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

Details

The monument includes an octagonal calvary step and the substructure of a cross in St. Lawrence's churchyard, Wick St. Lawrence, c.3m south east of the church porch on a raised area of grass with a church path on two sides. The calvary step is 3.6m in diameter and 0.1m high with each side of its octagon being 1.6m long. Probing around the base of the calvary suggests that there is stone c.0.1m beneath the surface to a width of 0.5m from the base of the calvary indicating the presence of another calvary step or substructure below ground level. The grave slab abutting the cross on its east side and falling within the area of its protective margin is excluded from the scheduling, though the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 28839

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 26

End of official listing