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Churchyard cross 4m south of Honeychurch church

A Scheduled Monument in Sampford Courtenay, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8085 / 50°48'30"N

Longitude: -3.947 / 3°56'49"W

OS Eastings: 262913.390001

OS Northings: 102804.896002

OS Grid: SS629028

Mapcode National: GBR KW.Y9XH

Mapcode Global: FRA 26MY.N43

Entry Name: Churchyard cross 4m south of Honeychurch church

Scheduled Date: 12 December 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013739

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27313

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Sampford Courtenay

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Honeychurch St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

This monument includes a fragment of a churchyard cross at Honeychurch built
into a low wall on the eastern side of a path 4m from the south porch of the
church. The cross is a small fragment of shaft with a projecting band
encircling it; the head has been broken off. The shaft which is partly
obscured by a wall, is octagonal and does not taper. The projecting collar
around the top is octagonal in section and has a diameter of 0.28m. It has
been roughly broken in the past. The collar is 0.2m high and the shaft 0.27m
high, giving the cross an overall height of 0.47m.
The cross is associated with a church which was built in the middle of the
12th century, and apart from the addition of a tower, has remained largely
unaltered.
Excluded from the scheduling is the church path wall, and the path where these
fall within the cross's protective margin, although the ground beneath is
included.

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 only a small fragment of the churchyard cross 4m south of Honeychurch
church survives, it is thought likely to be in its original context and is
associated with a 12th century church.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Hoskins, W G , St Mary's Church - Honeychurch
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 342
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS60SW-003, (1982)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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