Ancient Monuments

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The Butter Cross, 650m west of Lowerhouse Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Cheddleton, Staffordshire

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Latitude: 53.0675 / 53°4'2"N

Longitude: -2.0178 / 2°1'4"W

OS Eastings: 398904.429197

OS Northings: 352249.693608

OS Grid: SJ989522

Mapcode National: GBR 253.LPF

Mapcode Global: WHBCP.Z597

Entry Name: The Butter Cross, 650m west of Lowerhouse Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 October 1968

Last Amended: 12 June 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012665

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21595

County: Staffordshire

Civil Parish: 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, known locally as the Butter
Cross, located 650m west of Lowerhouse Farm. The cross is of stepped form and
is principally medieval in date with modern additions. The monument includes
the base, consisting of three steps and a socket-stone, and the shaft, knop
and head. The cross was restored in 1926.
The base includes three steps, all circular in plan and constructed of stone
blocks. An inscription on the base records the early 20th century restoration
of the cross. On the uppermost step stands the socket-stone, a large circular
stone with a central square slot into which the shaft is set. This is square
in section at the base, rising through chamfered corners to a tapering
octagonal section near the top. It is approximately 2.7m high. Above the shaft
are the knop and the cross-head, which are both early 20th century in date;
the latter takes the form of a stone crucifix.

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 Butter Cross west of Lowerhouse Farm is a good example of a medieval
standing cross with a stepped base and octagonal shaft. Situated at the
intersection of two tracks, it is believed to stand in its original position
marking the cross-roads. Limited activity in the area immediately surrounding
the cross indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's
construction are likely to survive intact. While much of the cross survives
from medieval times, subsequent restoration is evidence for its continued use
as a public monument and landmark.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beckett, J H, 'Transactions of the North Staffordshire Field Club' in Transactions of the North Staffordshire Field Club, , Vol. 57, (1923), 152
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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