Ancient Monuments

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Socket of a wayside cross at the crossroads near Six Bells Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Westbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.8222 / 51°49'19"N

Longitude: -2.4048 / 2°24'17"W

OS Eastings: 372197.231231

OS Northings: 213808.241271

OS Grid: SO721138

Mapcode National: GBR NRFW.71F

Mapcode Global: VH94G.8GKG

Entry Name: Socket of a wayside cross at the crossroads near Six Bells Farm

Scheduled Date: 30 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014825

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28520

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Westbury-on-Severn

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Westbury-on-Severn St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes the socket stone of a wayside cross situated on the
verge of the road at the Six Bells crossroads c.0.5km south east of
The octagonal socket stone measures 0.8m in diameter and is 0.6m high. It has
an ornamental triangle decoration in relief on its alternate surfaces. The
socket is in the centre of the stone and is 0.3m square and lined with lead.
The remains of a shaft, now worn level with the top of the socket stone, fills
the socket.
Three crosses remained in the parish of Westbury-on-Severn in the middle of
the last century. It was thought that there were many more, and that they used
to mark the tithings, of which there were 13 in this large parish.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 having been broken, the socket stone of the wayside cross
at the crossroads near Six Bells Farm survives comparatively well in what is
likely to be its original location.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 1

Source: Historic England

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