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Churchyard cross 4m south west of Rewe church tower

A Scheduled Monument in Rewe, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7829 / 50°46'58"N

Longitude: -3.4971 / 3°29'49"W

OS Eastings: 294551.815

OS Northings: 99215.409

OS Grid: SX945992

Mapcode National: GBR P1.R326

Mapcode Global: FRA 37K0.PDY

Entry Name: Churchyard cross 4m south west of Rewe church tower

Scheduled Date: 11 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013615

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27338

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Rewe

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Rewe St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a churchyard cross standing 4m south of Rewe church
tower. The cross survives as a modern octagonal pedestal with two steps, a
chamfered plinth, a 15th century socket stone and shaft together with a modern
head and arms. The lower step of the pedestal is 0.59m high, with a diameter
of 2.96m and a length on each octagonal side of 1.25m. The upper step, with a
diameter of 2.46m and a length on each octagonal side of 1.01m, stands 0.44m
high. The plinth for the socket stone measures 1.52m square by 0.16m high and
is chamfered. The socket stone measures 0.52m high, 1.22m square at the base,
has corner shoulders and an octagonal shaped upper surface. The socket hole
measures 0.4m square and contains the 1.92m high shaft which is square at the
base and octagonal above. Above is a modern head and arms which were added in
1885. The arms are 1.5m wide by 0.4m thick. This cross, which is no longer in
its original position, is Listed Grade II.

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.

Although not in its original position, the churchyard cross 4m south west of
Rewe church tower survives comparatively well, has probably only been moved a
short distance and remains in its original churchyard. The visual
relationship between the church and cross is therefore retained.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Masson Phillips, E M, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon, Part 2, , Vol. 70, (1938), 317
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX99NW-011-02, (1989)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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