Churchyard cross in St Peter's churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016344

Date first listed: 24-Oct-1997


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross in St Peter's churchyard
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Pipe and Lyde

National Grid Reference: SO 50276 44067


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 Peter's Church represent a good example of a medieval standing cross with a square stepped base. The cross occupies a prominent position to the south east of the south porch and is believed to stand in or near its original position. It has not been significantly restored and has continued in use as a public monument and amenity.


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


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located approximately 5m to the south of the south porch. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is medieval in date. It is of stepped form and includes a base of two steps and a socket stone, part of the shaft and the capital. The steps are roughly square in plan and are constructed from red sandstone blocks, similar to those used in the construction of the church, and are unmortared. The bottom step measures 1.95m east-west by 1.83m north-south. The socket stone rests on the top step and measures 0.76m square at the bottom, rising through chamfered corners to a moulded octagon on the surface with a smaller raised octagon in the centre. The full height of the socket stone is 0.59m. A trefoil headed niche in the west face of the socket stone 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 attached with mortar to the socket stone and is octagonal in section with a diameter of 0.22m and a height of 0.78m. On top of the shaft is a circular capital with a moulded ridge. A square hole in the centre of the capital contains an iron bolt which is thought to be a `dowel' for attaching the upper section of the shaft, whilst the capital is thought to be a later addition to the cross. Lead rivets have been used to secure cracks in the steps and the shaft. The overall height of the cross is 1.86m. The gravemarker to the west of the cross and the wall immediately to the north 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.


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

Legacy System number: 29883

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of the Historic Monuments of Herefordshire, (1932), 153
Marples, B, 'Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club' in The Niche in Medieval Churchyard Crosses, , Vol. 40, (1972), 321-332

End of official listing