Standing cross in St Michael and All Angels' churchyard 32m north east of the church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019704

Date first listed: 09-Mar-2001


Ordnance survey map of Standing cross in St Michael and All Angels' churchyard 32m north east of the church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: Mid Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Cadbury

National Grid Reference: SS 91110 04972


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 standing cross 32m north east of St Michael and All Angel's church, despite historic damage and more recent restoration, survives comparatively well and is decorated with a collar-like detail around the shaft which is found less commonly in Devon, since usually these are the more simple Latin style crosses. Its position within the churchyard also indicates its long held importance as a religious structure, since it is likely to be in its original location.


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


This monument includes a standing cross situated in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels, 32m north east of the church. The monument survives as a socket stone and shaft, of a type thought to date to the 15th century, with a modern head and arms. The socket stone is square at the base having chamfered corners on the top to make it octagonal. It measures 0.95m square and 0.4m high and contains a shaft. The shaft is 0.35m square at the base and octagonal above and tapers upwards. The shaft has been repaired at a height of 0.82m. There is a half roll moulding encircling the shaft at a height of 1.42m. The original shaft has been remodelled at 1.77m high by the addition of a 19th century replacement head and arms. Overall the cross stands at approximately 2.4m high. The cross is Listed Grade II.

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: 34259

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS90SW24.1, (1989)

End of official listing