Cross in the churchyard of St Lawrence's Church

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018027

Date first listed: 29-Jan-1998

Map

Ordnance survey map of Cross in the churchyard of St Lawrence'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.
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Location

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

District: Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Peover Superior

National Grid Reference: SJ 77202 73502, SJ 77214 73502

Summary

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 cross in the churchyard at Higher Peover is fine work of the late medieval period. The cross survives well in spite of the addition of a modern shaft and head. Part of the original shaft also survives close by. The cross steps are in their original location.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a standing cross on three steps on the south side of the churchyard at St Lawrence's Church, together with a portion of the shaft which has been erected 10m to the west of the cross and is re-used as a sundial. The cross steps are of sandstone ashlar construction. The first step is 2.7m square and stands 0.15m high. The second step is 2.1m square and 0.2m high. The third step is 1.45m square and is 0.2m high. The base block is square at the bottom and rises to octagonal with plain padded shoulders. The cross steps are Listed Grade II. The cross base is 15th century with a cross shaft and head dated 1907 set into it. To the west is a portion of the original octagonal shaft, 0.95m high and re-used as a sundial which is Listed Grade II. The grave slabs which lie around the cross and the sundial 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 30366

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing