Churchyard cross in St Leonard's churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021172

Date first listed: 08-Jul-1997

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Sep-2003


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross in St Leonard's churchyard
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Worcestershire

District: Bromsgrove (District Authority)

Parish: Beoley

National Grid Reference: SP 06517 69630


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 remains of the churchyard cross at St Leonard's represent a good example of a medieval standing cross with a rectangular stepped base, a square to octagonal socket stone and shaft. It occupies a prominent position to the south of the church porch and is believed to stand in or near its original position. The cross has not been significantly restored and has continued in use as a public monument and amenity from medieval times until the present day.


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


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located approximately 7m to the south of the south porch of St Leonard's Church. The cross is of stepped form and is medieval in date. It includes the base of three steps and a socket stone and the remains of the shaft. The cross is Listed Grade II.

The steps are rectangular in plan and are constructed of pink sandstone blocks, similar to those used in the construction of the church. The socket stone rests on the top step and is square in plan at the base, and rises through chamfered corners to an octagonal surface, surrounded by a moulded ridge. The stone measures 0.8m sq m and 0.6m high. A quatrefoil, set within a square formed by eight small triangular recesses, has been carved into each of the four vertical faces of the socket stone. The shaft measures 0.3m square at the base, and rises through a beaded rim to a tapering circular section. The shaft has been irregularly broken off at a height of 0.38m. A deep circular hole centrally placed in the top of the shaft may have supported a `dowel' for attaching the upper part of the shaft. The overall height of the monument is 1.68m.

The pathway to the north east of the cross where it lies within the monument's protective margin 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 29865

Legacy System: RSM


Listing, 2A.60 DOE, (1986)
Site visit, drawn and described., Bond, CJ, Beoley, Worcestershire: Churchyard cross, (1969)
Sites and monument record sheet, Churchyard cross, Beoley,

End of official listing