Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross in St Bartholomew's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Whittington, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.8844 / 51°53'3"N

Longitude: -1.982 / 1°58'55"W

OS Eastings: 401331.542337

OS Northings: 220646.394676

OS Grid: SP013206

Mapcode National: GBR 2MG.XBK

Mapcode Global: VHB1R.LWJT

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Bartholomew's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 10 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014420

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28502

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Whittington

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Whittington St Bartholomew

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes a standing cross situated in the churchyard at
Whittington c.0.5m east of St Bartholomew's Church.
The cross has a socket stone and shaft. The socket is an octagon with large
broaches at alternate faces; these are convex at the top with parallel sides
like buttresses. The base of the socket stone measures 0.75m across and has a
total height of 0.45m. The sides of the octagonal measure 0.35m. The socket
for the shaft is 0.25m square. The shaft, square at the bottom, tapers and
becomes octagonal in section. It is c.2.5m high, having a fluted moulding and
tenon on the top for inserting into the head.
The socket stone appears more weathered than the shaft and is hewn from one
piece of stone. These have the appearance of being of different dates. The
socket is probably early 14th century, but the shaft is 15th century or later.
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 Whittington is believed to be in its original
position. It is of unusual design and survives well as a visually impressive
monument of the medieval period.
Around 70m to the south west of the cross are the two `L' shaped arms of a
moated site comprising part of the moat and the corresponding parts of an
internal and external bank. Some 150m to the east of the cross are extensive
earthworks of a deserted medieval village traversed by a hollow way c.0.8m
deep. House platforms are visible as low earthworks. At the southern end of
the deserted medieval village is a Romano-British villa.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, (1970), 471
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 2-3

Source: Historic England

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