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Churchyard cross 20m south east of Down St Mary church

A Scheduled Monument in Down St. Mary, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8259 / 50°49'33"N

Longitude: -3.786 / 3°47'9"W

OS Eastings: 274306.389066

OS Northings: 104446.599378

OS Grid: SS743044

Mapcode National: GBR L3.X8PC

Mapcode Global: FRA 26YX.BW9

Entry Name: Churchyard cross 20m south east of Down St Mary church

Scheduled Date: 17 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014648

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27320

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Down St. Mary

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Down St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

The monument includes a churchyard cross standing 20m south east of Down St
Mary church. It is one of a pair of crosses found in this churchyard. The
monument survives as an ancient socket stone with a fragment of shaft onto
which a tall modern shaft and Maltese style head have been added. The socket
stone measures 0.88m square by 0.4m high, has corner shoulders, a chamfered
top edge and is octagonal above, the length of each side of the octagon being
0.4m. The socket stone contains a fragment of ancient shaft, which is 0.3m
square. The shaft has rounded stops and becomes octagonal above; the length
of each side of the octagon is 0.13m. The shaft is 0.66m high, tapers upwards
and is 0.28m wide at the top. Above this, the cross has been restored with
the addition of a tall tapering shaft upon which is a modern Maltese style
head embossed with decoration. The overall height of this restoration is some
3.5m.
The cross is Listed Grade II.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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.

Despite restoration, the churchyard cross 20m south east of Down St Mary
church survives in what is thought likely to be its original position. This
is one of two crosses situated within the churchyard.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Masson Phillips, E M, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon, Part 2, , Vol. 70, (1938), 320
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS70SW-001, (1982)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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