Churchyard cross 12m north east of St John the Baptist's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017195

Date first listed: 25-Nov-1999


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross 12m north east of St John the Baptist's Church
© 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 - 1017195 .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 10-Dec-2018 at 22:22:47.


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

County: Devon

District: East Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Broad Clyst

National Grid Reference: SX 98204 97295


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 medieval churchyard cross 12m north east of St John the Baptist's Church survives exceptionally well with its original cross head apparently restored to its former position. It is believed to stand either on or close to its original location and it is in a prominent position in the churchyard facing the lych gate.


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


The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross, believed to be of 15th century date, located in a prominent position in the churchyard in front of the lych gate. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, has been restored. It stands on a stepped pedestal which may be of contemporary or later date. The medieval cross comprises a socket stone, a shaft, and a cross head, all made of granite, the nearest source of which is on Dartmoor. The socket stone is 1.15m square at the base and 0.5m in height. It has rounded corner shoulders and is octagonal above. The shaft is 0.35m square at the base, has rounded corner stops, and is also octagonal above; it tapers upwards reaching a total height of 3.3m inclusive of its cross head. The cross head is reported to have been broken off in antiquity and restored to the cross at some unknown date. A visible scar on the shaft 0.4m below the cross head arms would appear to confirm that the head had been broken away at some stage. The entire cross is supported upon a flight of three octagonal steps rising to a final square step. The steeped pedestal is 3m in diameter at its base and is 1.3m high. There is no record of the antiquity of this pedestal although it is unlikely to be modern. It was probably constructed locally as it utilises locally available volcanic building stone rather than granite and it may be medieval or post-medieval in date; it forms an integral part of the presentation of the cross.

All gravestones which fall within the cross's protective margin 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: 29693

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Masson Phillips, E N, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon, , Vol. 70, (1938), 315

End of official listing