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Cross in the churchyard of St Mary'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 Mary's Church

List entry Number: 1021155

Location

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

County: Somerset

District: West Somerset

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Luxborough

National Park: EXMOOR

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 12-Nov-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: 35703

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 has been removed, the cross in the churchyard of St Mary's Church remains a good example of a medieval cross which is believed to stand in its original location. Limited activity immediately surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction and use are likely to survive intact.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a medieval cross which is located close to the south porch of St Mary's Church at Churchtown. Constructed from red sandstone, the remains of the original 13th or 14th century cross comprise a partly buried foundation plinth, a socket stone and the lower part of the shaft. The socket stone is octagonal in plan, 0.9m across, 0.2m in height and is set directly onto the plinth. It supports a shaft which is 0.36 sq m at its base and has deeply incised angles which form columns with incised posts for the 1.6m length of shaft. There is evidence of some form of sculptural decoration on the upper surviving section of the shaft which has been interpreted as a figure in a crocketed niche standing on a corbel. The cross is Listed Grade II. St Mary's Church can trace its history back to at least the 14th century but is believed to have earlier origins. The surface of the footpath which lies adjacent to the north side of the cross is excluded from the scheduling, 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.

Selected Sources

Other
SS 93 NE 9, National Monuments Record,

National Grid Reference: SS 97385 38005

Map

Map
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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 - 1021155 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 15-Dec-2017 at 04:09:40.

End of official listing