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Churchyard cross at Ampney St Peter

A Scheduled Monument in Ampney St. Peter, Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.7122 / 51°42'44"N

Longitude: -1.8831 / 1°52'59"W

OS Eastings: 408175.51235

OS Northings: 201507.196851

OS Grid: SP081015

Mapcode National: GBR 3R1.QQ2

Mapcode Global: VHB2S.97V7

Entry Name: Churchyard cross at Ampney St Peter

Scheduled Date: 10 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014412

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22095

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Ampney St. Peter

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Ampney St Peter with St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

Details

The monument includes a restored standing cross situated in the churchyard at
Ampney St Peter c.8m south of the church.
The cross has a square two step calvary, a socket stone, and restored shaft
and head. The base of the calvary is 2.3m wide and 0.35m high, the second step
is 1.5m wide and 0.25m high. Above this the square socket stone, which has
chamfered edges with small buttresses, is 0.8m wide and 0.45m high. The shaft,
square at the bottom, tapers to the restored head and becomes cylindrical in
section.
The calvary is constructed from stone blocks. The socket stone appears more
weathered and is hewn from one piece of stone. These have the appearance of
great age, but the shaft and head appear more recent. The oldest parts of the
cross are considered to be 14th century.
The cross is Listed Grade II.

MAP EXTRACT
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 Ampney St Peter is believed to be in its original
position. Despite the restored shaft and head the cross survives well as a
visually impressive monument largely of the medieval period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, (1970), 89

Source: Historic England

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