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Standing cross in the churchyard of St Chad's Church, Over, 10m from the south wall of the chancel

A Scheduled Monument in Winsford, Cheshire West and Chester

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.1815 / 53°10'53"N

Longitude: -2.5249 / 2°31'29"W

OS Eastings: 365018.798961

OS Northings: 365065.384429

OS Grid: SJ650650

Mapcode National: GBR 7S.3K7M

Mapcode Global: WH99R.59Y9

Entry Name: Standing cross in the churchyard of St Chad's Church, Over, 10m from the south wall of the chancel

Scheduled Date: 3 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013782

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25706

County: Cheshire West and Chester

Civil Parish: Winsford

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Over St Chad

Church of England Diocese: Chester

Details

The monument includes a cross base and fragment of the cross shaft on the
south side of the parish church at Over. The cross stands in its original
position and was erected as a preaching cross early in the 16th century.
The cross consists of an octagonal plinth in three stages forming steps up to
the square base block with an elaborate shaft fragment fixed to the socket.
The plinth is constructed from sandstone blocks and the first step measures
3.8m in width, with facets 1.38m long and 0.23m in height. The third step is
slightly smaller and has facets measuring 1.08m long and 0.23m high. The width
of the step is 3.2m. The second step has facets 0.88m long and 0.23m high and
measures 2.4m in width. The base is formed from a single block measuring 0.78m
on the north side and 0.69m on the west side. It stands 0.37m high. There is
no apparent socket hole and the shaft is fixed onto the base with cement and
probably a mortice and tenon joint. The shaft is of sandstone squared at the
base and cut in facets to form an octagonal section to the broken top. It
stands 0.93m high on the base.
The plinth steps are no longer mortared together and show no signs of iron
ties to keep them in line. The top of the broken shaft has been sawn off level
to form a surface for a brass sundial. This is inscribed to the memory of Wm
Thompson and Hugh Woodford, churchwardens and the date 1745.
Inside the church is a fragment of Anglo-Saxon sculpture but this is not
connected with this monument and is not included in the scheduling. The
present cross may have replaced a much earlier original since many of the
earliest crosses are erected on this side of the churches in other parts of
Britain.
This cross is Listed Grade II.

MAP EXTRACT
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 standing cross at Over survives well in spite of the loss of the head. Its
reuse as a sundial reflects the attitude of more puritan churchgoers in the
centuries after its construction. The cross is in its original location and
the fragment of Anglo-Saxon sculpture inside the church may be part of an
earlier version of the kind of preaching cross which stands on the south side
of many churches in Britain. The cross serves to remind us of the piety of the
religious and the skill of the monumental sculptor in the late medieval
period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Cheshire County Council Planning Dept, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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