Ancient Monuments

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Cross at Nether Alderley on the crossroads of Welsh Row and Congleton Road

A Scheduled Monument in Nether Alderley, Cheshire East

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Latitude: 53.2891 / 53°17'20"N

Longitude: -2.2362 / 2°14'10"W

OS Eastings: 384351.555382

OS Northings: 376924.011305

OS Grid: SJ843769

Mapcode National: GBR DZTD.NP

Mapcode Global: WHBBF.MLCD

Entry Name: Cross at Nether Alderley on the crossroads of Welsh Row and Congleton Road

Scheduled Date: 3 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013784

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25708

County: Cheshire East

Civil Parish: Nether Alderley

Built-Up Area: Wilmslow

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Alderley St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument includes a stepped plinth and cross base with a fragment of the
original shaft. It stands in its original position at a crossroads on the edge
of the village.
The plinth is raised on a platform of dressed local sandstone and has three
steps. The platform is squared and stands 1.25m high measuring 2.53m wide on
the east side. The first step measures 2.15m wide on the south side and 1.98m
wide on the east side. It stands 0.22m high. The second step is 1.68m wide on
the south side and 1.55m wide on the east side and stands 0.24m high. This is
topped by a platform made of three large blocks and measuring 0.69m X 0.63m
and 0.26m high. The cross base above this is 0.69m X 0.63m and is 0.76m high.
This has bevelled edges. The shaft is a squared stone with chamfered edges
0.25m wide and 0.25m high.
The plinth is surrounded by a kerb of large dressed stones. There is a wooden
bench along the east side and a bus shelter to the south. These are excluded
from the scheduling, but the ground beneath is included.
The cross is Listed Grade II.

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 cross at Nether Alderley survives well in spite of the loss of most of the
shaft and the head. It stands in its original position at a crossroads and was
used in medieval times as a preaching cross and village meeting place.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Richards, R, Old Cheshire Churches, (1947), 122

Source: Historic England

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