Ancient Monuments

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Village cross at Clearwell

A Scheduled Monument in Newland, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.7696 / 51°46'10"N

Longitude: -2.6218 / 2°37'18"W

OS Eastings: 357188.339409

OS Northings: 208061.383686

OS Grid: SO571080

Mapcode National: GBR FQ.ZL9H

Mapcode Global: VH872.HST9

Entry Name: Village cross at Clearwell

Scheduled Date: 12 March 1953

Last Amended: 18 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014404

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28514

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Newland

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire


The monument includes a village cross on a five step calvary in the village of
Clearwell. The cross is complete and sits on a junction of three roads.
The cross includes a five step calvary, pedestal, socket stone, shaft and
head. The first step of the calvary is 4.4m square and 0.3m high, the next
step is 3.8m square and 0.25m high. The remaining three steps rising from this
are 3.1m, 2.45m, and 1.8m square and 0.3m, 0.25m and 0.3m high respectively.
These five steps are composed of old weathered stones now cemented together.
Above this the pedestal is in the form of four Gothic style niches each 1.15m
long and c.1.8m high. On the top of the pedestal is a block of squared stone
c.0.7m square. All these features are built of grey forest stone and appear to
be contemporary representing the oldest part of the cross. The shaft, with
broaches at its base, is an octagonal pillar c.2.2m high, surmounted by
circular mouldings and a cross.
The stone blocks of the calvary and the pedestal are of early 14th century
date, but the shaft and head are Victorian, designed by John Middleton in 1866
at the time he built St Peter's Church in the village. The cross is Listed
Grade II.
Excluded from the scheduling are the cobbles which surround the base of the
cross, the concrete and metal bollards at the four corners of the cross base
and the metalled road surface where this falls within the cross's protective
margin, although the ground beneath all of these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 1 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the
medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to
serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith
amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside
crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and
otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes
linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious
function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners
and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on
Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west
England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type
of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively
few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to
remote moorland locations.
Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross,
in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an
unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and
decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces
of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or
incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was
sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear
decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the
`Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both
faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the
North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed
base or show no evidence for a separate base at all.
Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval
religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval
routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth-
fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from
their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

Despite the shaft and head being later than the calvary and pedestal, the
village cross at Clearwell survives well with many of its original elements
intact in what is likely to be its original location. Its position in the road
makes it an imposing monument and a landmark in the village. The area of the
village where it is situated is called `The Cross'.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, (1970), 161
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 61-65

Source: Historic England

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