Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Somerset West and Taunton (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Standing cross of medieval date; restored c1869.

Reasons for Designation

The medieval standing cross in the churchyard of St John the Baptist Church is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: *Architectural interest: although it is missing its head and has suffered weathering, the cross displays careful detailing in its figurative carvings; *Historic interest: since it is considered to be in its original position, it illustrates well how some crosses served as foci for religious practices within churchyards in the medieval period; * Group value: it forms a group with the Church of St John the Baptist, the Spurway Memorial and Manor Farmhouse, which are all Grade II listed.


Standing crosses, usually of stone, are free-standing upright structures that were mostly erected during the medieval period. They varied considerably in elaboration, and stood in a variety of locations, to serve a range of functions. Those in churchyards acted as stations for outdoor processions, particularly during Palm Sunday ceremonies. The great majority of standing crosses that survive lost their cross-heads to religious extremists during the C16 and C17. The standing cross in St John the Baptist’s churchyard was erected during the medieval period, and is considered to date from either the C13, when the church was originally built, or the C15. The shaft has a relief carving of a male figure which is considered to possibly be either a Prior of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, former patrons of the church, or a representation of St John the Baptist. The cross was restored in the mid-C19, probably by Devon architect Edward Ashworth, who carried out a major restoration of the church at that time.


Standing cross of medieval date; restored c1869.

MATERIALS and PLAN: carved from sandstone and Hamstone, and octagonal on plan.

DESCRIPTION: the cross comprises an octagonal base of two steps, a square socket stone, and a square shaft; the head is missing. The corners of the socket stone are cut into square angle shafts with caps and fillet moulding. The tapering shaft has bevelled corners and fillet mouldings at the base. It stands to a height of 1.9m where it is broken off. The east face is enriched with a crocketted niche containing a headless male figure in flowing robes standing on an eroded angel corbel. The angel is said to be holding a shield with a wreath below. It was described in the late C19 (Pooley, 1877), but the carvings are now (2016) weathered.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877)
History of the Church of St John the Baptist, accessed 1 August 2016 from


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

The listed building(s) is/are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 16 Sep 2002
Reference: IOE01/08933/18
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr John Chester. Source Historic England Archive
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