Churchyard cross in St John the Baptist's churchyard
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 10-Aug-2020 at 22:43:17.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Redditch (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- SP 00930 61629
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 churchyard cross at St John the Baptist's is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a rectangular stepped base and a square to octagonal socket stone. It occupies a prominent position to the south east of the south porch and is believed to stand in or near its original position. Whilst most of the cross has survived from medieval times, subsequent restoration has resulted in its continued function as a public monument and amenity.
The monument includes a standing stone cross located approximately 20m to
the south east of the south porch of St John the Baptist's Church. The
cross is of stepped form, and includes the base of four steps and a socket
stone, a further addition to the socket stone and a modern head. It is
Listed Grade II.
The steps are square in plan and are constructed of pink sandstone blocks, similar to those used in the construction of the church. The bottom step measures 3.2 sq m and 0.16m high on the east side. The middle two steps measure 2.67 sq m by 0.2m high and 2.09 sq m by 0.19m high. The top step measures 1.5 sq m and 0.2m high. The socket stone rests on the top step. It is 0.8 sq m at the base and bevels upwards to a smaller square, 0.69 sq m, which in turn rises through chamfered corners to an irregular octagon. The full height of the socket stone is 0.69m. Positioned on top of the socket stone is a simple stone block, 0.43 sq m by 0.25m high, which is thought to be a modern addition. Mortared to this stone is a modern sandstone cross-head which measures 0.56m from arm to arm and rises to a height of 0.97m. The full height of the monument is 2.65m.
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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Doubleday, AH, Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Worcester, (1913), 118
Redditch DC 19-59 DOE, (1974)
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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing