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Churchyard cross socket stone 1.6m south of St Andrew's Church tower

A Scheduled Monument in Alwington, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.9856 / 50°59'8"N

Longitude: -4.2744 / 4°16'27"W

OS Eastings: 240457.700758

OS Northings: 123153.319421

OS Grid: SS404231

Mapcode National: GBR KF.LC01

Mapcode Global: FRA 16YH.SNZ

Entry Name: Churchyard cross socket stone 1.6m south of St Andrew's Church tower

Scheduled Date: 20 December 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013731

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27303

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Alwington

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Alwington St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

This monument includes a churchyard cross socket stone situated 1.6m south of
the church tower of St Andrew's Church, Alwington. Although earthfast, the
socket stone may have been moved a short distance from its original position.
The base of the socket stone measures 0.7m square and is 0.6m high. The top of
the stone has been cut to form an octagon with a chamfered top edge. Two of
the upper sides of the octagon have been broken. The socket hole is empty,
clearly visible and measures 0.3m square and 0.2m deep. The socket stone is of
a type thought to date to the 14th or 15th centuries. 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.

Although the socket stone 1.6m south of St Andrew's Church tower may have been
moved a short distance from its original position, it survives well and
retains its close spatial relationship with the church.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Masson Phillips, E M, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon, Part 2, , Vol. 70, (1938), 310
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS42SW-004-01,
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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