Churchyard cross in St Andrew's churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017570

Date first listed: 11-Mar-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross in St Andrew'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 - 1017570 .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 22-Oct-2018 at 09:37:22.


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

District: Bath and North East Somerset (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Chew Magna

National Grid Reference: ST 57674 63198


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.

Although part of the shaft and the head of the cross are missing, the standing cross in the churchyard at Chew Magna is an impressive monument of the medieval period. It survives well in what is likely to be its original location. The 15th century cross relates to the Church of St Andrew which was built to its present form over the period 1190-1500. This was one of three crosses in Chew Magna.


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


The monument includes a cross situated in the churchyard at Chew Magna c.40m south west of the south porch of the church. The cross has a base, a six step octagonal calvary, a socket stone and shaft. The base is composed of two courses of rough stones making an octagonal platform 6m in diameter and 0.2m high on which the calvary sits. Each of the six steps of the calvary varies slightly in height between 0.25m and 0.35m due to movement of the stones over time, but the average height of each step is 0.3m. Similarly, the octagonal sides of each step are not uniform because of movement. The first step is the same diameter as the base, with an overhanging drip, and the sides of its octagon vary between 2.1m and 2.5m in width. Each step is ornamented with sunk panelled facing. Above the sixth step of the calvary is the octagonal socket stone which has a weather drip moulding and chamfered set-off at its base. It is 1.3m wide and 0.8m high with a central lead lined socket 0.4m square. The shaft, broken at a height of c.2.5m, is square at its base, but then stopped and continues in octagonal form as it tapers upwards. The calvary is constructed from stone blocks and the socket stone is hewn from one piece of stone. The cross sits on a slight mound of earth 0.1m high, which extends to 0.5m around the base of the cross, except on the southern side of the cross where it is abutted by graves. Investigation by probing at the time of the field visit showed that there appears to be stone below the surface of the mound at a depth of c.0.2m. These remains are included in the scheduling. In the mid-19th century the cross is reported as having seven steps, thus the mound may indicate a buried calvary step. A watercolour dated 1823 by `Mr Hall-Vicar' shows the cross in the same condition as it is today. The cross is considered to be 15th century in date. There are remains of two other crosses in Chew Magna. Just inside the churchyard gate is a socket stone placed upside down. This stone was known as `The Resting Stone' around 1900, as coffins were rested there inside the churchyard gate. The second fragment of cross is on the downstream cutwater of the 15th century Tun Bridge. This is a triangular section stone with a rectangular socket cut into its upper surface, which is thought to be the socket for a bridge cross contemporary with the rest of the structure. The gravestones situated on the mound are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath them is included. This necessarily involves the graves themselves given that their precise extent cannot be accurately mapped.

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


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

Legacy System number: 28832

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 37-38

End of official listing