Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross in St Michael's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Duntisbourne Rouse, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.753 / 51°45'10"N

Longitude: -2.0225 / 2°1'21"W

OS Eastings: 398539.194068

OS Northings: 206037.147416

OS Grid: SO985060

Mapcode National: GBR 2P4.5GJ

Mapcode Global: VHB2H.W6MG

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Michael's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 2 April 1965

Last Amended: 18 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014400

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28509

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Duntisbourne Rouse

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Duntisbourne Abbots St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes a standing cross situated in the churchyard at
Duntisbourne Rouse c.20m south east of the church. The churchyard slopes from
west to east and the cross is built into the slope.
The cross includes a substructure, square step, a socket stone, shaft,
thickened terminal and head. The substructure is composed of weathered stone
slabs which form a base 1.4m square and 0.1m high. Above this the step is
composed of four large stones forming a square with sides 1.4m long and 0.4m
high. The square socket stone, which has hollowed sides and a fillet running
around it c.0.2m from the bottom, is 0.9m square at its base narrowing to
0.75m and is 0.65m high. The slender octagonal shaft, c.2.5m high, is mortised
with lead into a socket 0.25m square. At the top of the shaft is a thickened
terminal in the form of two light circular mouldings above which is the head
bearing the remains of carved figures in broken canopies.
The socket stone is hewn from one piece of stone. It is considered that the
cross is early medieval.
The cross is Listed Grade II.

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.

The churchyard cross at Duntisbourne Rouse is believed to be in its original
position, and survives well as a visually impressive monument. It is reputed
to be of early medieval date thus relating to the church in the precinct of
which it lies.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, (1970), 223-4
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 32-33

Source: Historic England

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