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Churchyard cross 1m south of Clyst Hydon church

A Scheduled Monument in Clyst Hydon, Devon

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Latitude: 50.8065 / 50°48'23"N

Longitude: -3.3703 / 3°22'12"W

OS Eastings: 303543.469

OS Northings: 101666.939

OS Grid: ST035016

Mapcode National: GBR LP.YD0P

Mapcode Global: FRA 36TY.YLP

Entry Name: Churchyard cross 1m south of Clyst Hydon church

Scheduled Date: 12 September 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013617

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27341

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Clyst Hydon

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Clyst Hydon St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a churchyard cross 1m south of Clyst Hydon church. The
cross survives as a 15th century socket stone and shaft, with a modern
additional length of shaft, head and arms. The socket stone measures 1.3m in
diameter by 0.32m high and is situated on the edge of a path immediately to
the south of the church. In 1938 it was described as being square at the base
and octagonal above, with a chamfered top, although only the octagonal upper
portion is now clearly visible.
The 1.42m high shaft, which is square at the base and octagonal above
measures 0.42m square and tapers slightly upwards. Above, a second fragment
of shaft has been added to extend the height of the cross and above this are
the modern head and arms. The arms are 0.69m wide by 0.24m thick and the head
is 0.32m high by 0.26m wide. The overall height of the head and arms is 0.8m
whilst the cross as a whole stands 2.7m high.
The cross is Listed Grade II.
Excluded from the scheduling is the church path surface where it falls within
the cross's protective margin although the ground beneath the path surface is

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.

Despite partial restoration, the churchyard cross 1m south of Clyst Hydon
church survives comparatively well and is likely to be in its original
position. Its location immediately next to the church porch means that it is
a prominent feature within the graveyard.

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), 331
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, ST00SW-001-01, (1989)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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