Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross, St Edward's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Cheddleton, Staffordshire

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Latitude: 53.0689 / 53°4'7"N

Longitude: -2.0445 / 2°2'40"W

OS Eastings: 397112.588

OS Northings: 352404.115

OS Grid: SJ971524

Mapcode National: GBR 251.RWJ

Mapcode Global: WHBCP.K4M5

Entry Name: Churchyard cross, St Edward's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 12 November 1962

Last Amended: 12 June 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012663

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21593

County: Staffordshire

Civil Parish: Cheddleton

Built-Up Area: Cheddleton

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Staffordshire

Church of England Parish: Cheddleton St Edward the Confessor

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield


The monument includes a standing stone cross located in the churchyard of St
Edward's Church, Cheddleton, approximately 15m north east of the south porch.
The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is of stepped form and is partly medieval
and partly late 19th century in date. The monument includes a base of three
steps, a medieval socket-stone, a shaft and an ornamental head of late 19th
century date.
The steps are circular in plan and constructed of stone blocks. The
socket-stone stands on the third step and is also circular in section. Set
into the centre of the socket-stone is a stone shaft of square section with a
column applied to each face. The lowest 1.2m of the shaft represents the
remains of the original medieval shaft; whilst the upper part is thought to
date from the late 19th century restoration. The shaft rises from a simple
moulded base to a floral-banded ornamental knop, above which are sculptures
depicting the instruments of the Passion, set within gabled niches, and the
cross-head. This takes the form of a cusped stone cross. The head also
dates from the late 19th century restoration of the cross and was designed by
George Gilbert Scott Junior in collaboration with William Morris.
The stone paving on the northern side of the cross and the gravestone to the
south are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath the paving
is included.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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 Cheddleton is a good example of a medieval standing
cross with a circular socket-stone and unusual fluted shaft, and it forms the
centrepiece of a quintessential English churchyard. Limited activity in the
area immediately surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological deposits
relating to the monument's construction in this location are likely to survive
intact. While the socket-stone and the lower part of the shaft have survived
from medieval times, the subsequent restoration of the steps and head
illustrates the continued use of the cross as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Johnstone, JD, 'Transactions of the North Staffordshire Field Club' in Transactions of the North Staffordshire Field Club, , Vol. 83, (1949), 123

Source: Historic England

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