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.

Lady Godiva's churchyard cross in St Bartholomew'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: Lady Godiva's churchyard cross in St Bartholomew's churchyard

List entry Number: 1017816

Location

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

County:

District: City of Wolverhampton

District Type: Metropolitan Authority

Parish:

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 23-Feb-1998

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: 30032

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.

Lady Godiva's cross in St Bartholomew's churchyard is an important example of a pre-Norman standing cross with a circular stepped base and socket stone. Situated in a prominent position close to the south wall of the church, it is believed to stand in its original position. Considerable remains survive from the pre-Norman period, and the cross is rare in having been discovered lying directly below a later standing cross of the medieval period during restorations in 1912. The existence of two periods of standing cross, one superimposed above the other, is a rare occurrence and illustrates the continued function of the site as a focus of public worship, which continued with the restoration of the later cross in 1912.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the plinth, the three steps and socket stone of a standing cross within the churchyard of St Bartholomew's Church, immediately south of the nave. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is of stepped form and is pre-Norman in date. The steps are circular in plan, and the bottom step measures 2.78m in diameter and at least 0.19m high. The middle step measures 2.24m in diameter, and is at least 0.28m high, and the top step measures 1.84m in diameter and 0.12m high. The steps are all partly bonded with mortar. The socket stone is circular in plan and measures 0.76m in diameter by 0.37m high. It is damaged, but part of the squared socket survives in the centre and measures 0.29m square with part of a stone peg surviving in the socket. The cross was uncovered in 1912, during restoration of a medieval cross (the subject of a separate scheduling) which stood above the pre-Norman cross on the same site. It was consolidated in situ and presented for display in a stone revetted pit, 0.85m deep to the base of the bottom step of the cross, and measuring 3.25m by 4m. The pit sides form the edge of the monument.

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

Selected Sources

Other
Various SMR Officers, Notes in SMR File unpublished,

National Grid Reference: SO 89452 95268

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 - 1017816 .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 11-Dec-2017 at 07:37:11.

End of official listing