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Churchyard cross 5m north of Halwill church lychgate

A Scheduled Monument in Halwill, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.7729 / 50°46'22"N

Longitude: -4.2319 / 4°13'54"W

OS Eastings: 242726.018949

OS Northings: 99414.677214

OS Grid: SX427994

Mapcode National: GBR NR.0QTH

Mapcode Global: FRA 2701.K54

Entry Name: Churchyard cross 5m north of Halwill church lychgate

Scheduled Date: 13 June 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013613

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27336

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Halwill

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Halwill St Peter and St James

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

This monument includes a churchyard cross 5m north of Halwill church lychgate.
The cross survives as a square pedestal of two steps, a square ornamented
socket stone and a fragment of shaft. The lower step is 1.78m square, 0.2m
high and is built into the slope of the churchyard. The upper step is 1.16m
square and 0.33m high. Above is a socket stone which is 0.7m square at the
base and 0.5m high. The upper corners of the socket stone have been cut out
and on all four faces there are designs in relief, although some are
weathered, and have been subject to several interpretations. On the west face
is a Latin cross, on two steps. The east face bears a large St Andrew's cross.
The south face has what has been variously described as a St Andrew's cross or
blind tracery in a roundel. The north face is very weathered and may represent
some kind of beast or perhaps a plough.
Set into the socket stone is a small fragment of shaft which is square in
section and measures 0.22m square and 0.2m high.
The cross is Listed Grade II.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 5m north of Halwill church lychgate survives
comparatively well and includes a very fine and unusual decorated socket
stone.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 319
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX49NW-010-01, (1988)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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