Cross in the churchyard of St John the Baptist 15m south east of the church door


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018924

Date first listed: 01-Nov-1966

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Cross in the churchyard of St John the Baptist 15m south east of the church door
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: South Somerset (District Authority)

Parish: Brewham

National Grid Reference: ST 71977 36126


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 incomplete, the medieval cross in the churchyard of St John the Baptist survives comparatively well in what is considered to be its original position. Its location, 15m south east of the church door, means that it is a prominent feature within the graveyard.


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


The monument includes a medieval cross located south east of the church door in the churchyard of St John the Baptist, Brewham. The remains of the original cross structure include a rectangular base stone and a socket stone and shaft. The socket stone is 0.5m high and 0.75m square, with chamfered corners and supports the square base of the tapering shaft. The upper part of the shaft is octagonal, approximately 2.75m high, and is topped by a capital with roll moulding. The cross head is missing. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is sited on a raised grass verge adjacent to the metalled track leading to the church door, and part of the original cross stone base is visible in the verge extending under the socket stone. This is part of the original cross structure and is included in the scheduling. The metalled road surface is excluded from the scheduling where it impinges on the cross's 1m protective margin, although the ground beneath it 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: 32162

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing