Churchyard cross in St Dubricius's churchyard

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016339

Date first listed: 24-Sep-1997

Map

Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross in St Dubricius's churchyard
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

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

District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Hentland

National Grid Reference: SO 54305 26411

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.

The churchyard cross at St Dubricius's Church represents a good example of a medieval standing cross with a square stepped base. It occupies a prominent position to the north east of the north porch and is believed to stand in or near its original location. The cross has not been significantly restored and has continued in use as a public monument and amenity from medieval times until the present day.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a standing stone cross, located within the churchyard of St Dubricius's Church, approximately 9m to the north east of the north porch. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is medieval in date. It is of stepped form and includes a base comprised of a single step and a socket stone, part of the shaft and a tabernacle head. The step is square in plan and is constructed from pink sandstone blocks, similar to those used in the construction of the church, and measures 1.56m square. On the south side the top of the step is at ground level, whilst on the north side it rises to a height of 0.14m. The socket stone comprises a simple undecorated stone, 0.98m square and 0.46m high. The east side of the stone is partly broken away. The shaft is mortised into the socket stone and bonded with lead, measuring 0.26m square at the base, rising through chamfered corners in tapering octagonal section to a height of 0.92m. At the top of the shaft is a rectangular tabernacle head which faces east and west. It has shallow ogee headed niches cut into all four faces and measures 0.4m north-south, 0.22m east-west and 0.6m high. The east face portrays the Crucifixion and further eroded figures are visible in the other three faces. The overall height of the cross is approximately 2.12m. The gravemarkers immediately to the north east, south and south east of the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 29877

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Watkins, A, 'The Woolhope Naturalists Field Club' in Herefordshire Churchyard Crosses, , Vol. one, (1918), 116
Other
RCHM, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Herefordshire, (1931)

End of official listing