Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross 3m south of Huish church porch

A Scheduled Monument in Huish, Devon

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Latitude: 50.8805 / 50°52'49"N

Longitude: -4.0856 / 4°5'8"W

OS Eastings: 253374.993

OS Northings: 111072.45

OS Grid: SS533110

Mapcode National: GBR KP.SYLF

Mapcode Global: FRA 26BS.23S

Entry Name: Churchyard cross 3m south of Huish church porch

Scheduled Date: 7 December 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013734

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27306

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Huish

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Huish St James the Less

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a churchyard cross situated 3m south of Huish
church porch and 4m north of the lychgate. The monument survives as an
octagonal pedestal with two steps, a square socket stone and a small modern
cross. The diameter of the bottom step of the pedestal is 1.9m, the length of
each side is 0.72m and it is 0.5m high. It has a chamfered plinth. The upper
step has a diameter of 1.3m, the length of each side is 0.6m and it is 0.45m
high. Both steps have projecting top edges. Within the upper step is a
chamfered square collar which surrounds the base of the socket stone. This
measures 0.83m long by 0.16m high and 0.12m wide and is square in shape.
The socket stone measures 0.64m square, 0.33m high and has a socket hole (now
infilled) which measures 0.25m square.
Within the socket hole is a modern cross of square section which measures
1.09m high.
The cross is Listed Grade II.
Excluded from the scheduling is the metalled path surface where this falls
within the cross's protective margin, although the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 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.

The churchyard cross 3m from the south porch of Huish church survives well as
a good example of an octagonal pedestal and socket stone of a type common
throughout Devon and thought to date to the 14th to 15th centuries. The
monument is likely to be in its original position and is clearly visible
within the churchyard.

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, SS51SW-007-01, (1989)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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