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Village cross at Lydney

A Scheduled Monument in Lydney, Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.7234 / 51°43'24"N

Longitude: -2.5375 / 2°32'15"W

OS Eastings: 362967.13136

OS Northings: 202879.060922

OS Grid: SO629028

Mapcode National: GBR JT.2LDB

Mapcode Global: VH879.YYW6

Entry Name: Village cross at Lydney

Scheduled Date: 9 June 1952

Last Amended: 18 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014405

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28515

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Lydney

Built-Up Area: Lydney

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Lydney St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

Details

The monument includes a village cross on an eight step calvary, situated in
the town of Lydney. The cross is complete and sits on a junction of three
roads.
The cross includes an eight step calvary, pedestal, socket stone, shaft, and
head. The first step of the calvary is 7.25m square and 0.3m high. The
other seven steps rising from this decrease in size with the top step being
2.45m square. Each step is c.0.3m high. These eight steps are composed of old
weathered stone blocks cemented together. Above this is a square plinth 1.56m
long and 0.2m high which bears the pedestal or capital. The capital is in the
form of four canopied niches c.2m high. All these features are built of grey
forest stone. They appear to be contemporary and represent the oldest part of
the cross. The socket stone, shaft and cross extend for another 3m beyond the
capital. The total height of the cross is c.7m.
The stone blocks of the calvary and the capital are early 14th century, but
the shaft and head are later. A plate of the cross depicted in Pooley's notes
published in 1868 shows the cross without socket stone and shaft. It also
shows the bottom step to have originally been much deeper, but now hidden by
the higher level of the tarmac road. The cross is Listed Grade II.
Excluded from the scheduling are the 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 these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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
pilgrimages.
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 socket stone, shaft and head being later than the calvary and
pedestal, the village cross at Lydney 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 town.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 61-65

Source: Historic England

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