This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Churchyard cross in St David's churchyard

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Churchyard cross in St David's churchyard

List entry Number: 1017735

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: County of Herefordshire

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Little Dewchurch

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 24-Sep-1997

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 29851

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 cross at St David's churchyard represent a good example of a medieval standing cross, with a square stepped base and a socket stone with a niche. Located near to the south porch of the church, and very close to the pathways leading from the north and south entrances to the churchyard, it is believed to stand in or near to its original position. The cross has not been significantly restored, and has continued in use as a public monument from medieval times up to the present day.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of a medieval standing stone cross located within the churchyard of St David's Church, approximately 6m to the south of the porch. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, includes a base of three steps and a socket stone, and the remains of the shaft. The steps are square in plan and are constructed of large sandstone blocks, similar to the stone utilised in the construction of the church, which are built around a rubble core. The bottom step is about 2.44m square, the greater part surviving to a height of 0.38m. The middle step measures about 1.85m square by 0.17m high. The top step measures approximately 1.22m square by 0.20m high. The socket stone rests on the top step. It is square in plan, and measures about 0.72m square by 0.55m high. The stone is fractured towards the top edge which is bevelled to a smaller square, 0.6m wide. An ogee-headed niche, cut in the western face of the socket stone, is thought to have held the Pyx or Holy Water when Mass was celebrated at the cross, or alternatively to hold a statue or icon. The remains of the shaft are mortised with lead into the socket stone. The shaft is 0.23m square in plan at the base, rising through chamfered corners to an octagonal section, and extending to a height of 0.7m. The iron and lead rivets embedded in the top of the shaft may have served as `dowels' for the attachment of an upper stone. The full height of the cross is approximately 2m. The gravestones to the south, east and west of the cross 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Marples, B, 'Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club' in The Niche in Medieval Churchyard Crosses, , Vol. 40, (1972), 328
Other
RCHM, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Herefordshire, (1931)

National Grid Reference: SO 52945 31748

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. 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 - 1017735 .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 18-Nov-2017 at 11:43:42.

End of official listing