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Cross in the churchyard of St George's Church

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: Cross in the churchyard of St George's Church

List entry Number: 1021061


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

County: Somerset

District: West Somerset

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Dunster

National Park: EXMOOR

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 06-Oct-2003

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: 35599

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.

Although the original cross head and part of the shaft have been removed, the major part of the medieval cross in the churchyard of St Georges's church survives well in its original prominent setting opposite the west door of the church.


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


The monument includes a medieval cross which is located opposite the west door of the Parish and Priory Church of St George, Dunster. It is Listed Grade II. The remains of the original 15th century or earlier cross structure are three circuclar base steps, a socket stone, and the stump of a shaft. The base steps are constructed from uniformly sized stone blocks laid out in a circular plan with each step decreasing in size. The lowest step is 0.1m high, 0.3m deep, and 3.6m in diameter and the highest is 0.15m high, 0.55m deep and is surmounted by an octagonal socket stone 0.45m high with mouldings on its upper part; the remaining 0.5m of rounded shaft is set into it. The cross stands in the churchyard of the church, which can trace its history back to at least 1090. This church acted as both the parish and as the priory church serving the nearby Benedictine priory some surviving remains of which are located in the area to the north of the church. The parish church still retains the title `Parish and Priory church of St George'.

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

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 154
Freeman, E A, 'Proceedings Somerset Archaeological & Natural History Society' in Dunster Priory Church, , Vol. 6, no 2, (1855), 1-16

National Grid Reference: SS 98995 43662


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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 - 1021061 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 23-Feb-2018 at 11:09:00.

End of official listing