Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross pedestal at Langtree, 11m south east of the church

A Scheduled Monument in Langtree, Devon

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Latitude: 50.9187 / 50°55'7"N

Longitude: -4.2045 / 4°12'16"W

OS Eastings: 245143.123669

OS Northings: 115565.512656

OS Grid: SS451155

Mapcode National: GBR KJ.QJQ4

Mapcode Global: FRA 262P.3TQ

Entry Name: Churchyard cross pedestal at Langtree, 11m south east of the church

Scheduled Date: 7 December 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013730

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27302

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Langtree

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Langtree

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes the pedestal of a standing cross situated in the
churchyard at Langtree 11m south east of the church, and built into a gently
sloping hillside. The pedestal is octagonal and has two steps with projecting
top edges. The lower step is set into the slope of the hillside and attains a
maximum height of 0.32m to the south, whilst to the north it is largely
embedded in the ground. The overall diameter of the lower step is 3.26m with
the average length of each octagonal side being 1.22m. The upper step is also
of octagonal shape, with an overall diameter of 2.6m. The length of each side
is 0.94m and its height is 0.43m. The structure is constructed from large
pieces of stone, slabs and blocks. There are now no traces of either the
socket stone or cross.
The pedestal is of a type thought to date to the 14th or 15th centuries, and
typical of those found throughout Devon.
The cross is Listed Grade II. The upper step of the cross pedestal is
presently used as a flower bed.

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 pedestal at Langtree is believed to be in its original
position. Despite the loss of the socket stone and cross, the pedestal itself
survives well as a visually impressive and well visited monument.

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), 314
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS41NE-007-02,
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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