Ancient Monuments

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Village cross at the junction of High Street and Station Road

A Scheduled Monument in South Cerney, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.672 / 51°40'19"N

Longitude: -1.9304 / 1°55'49"W

OS Eastings: 404906.386969

OS Northings: 197025.956591

OS Grid: SU049970

Mapcode National: GBR 3RK.4RR

Mapcode Global: VHB2Y.H79L

Entry Name: Village cross at the junction of High Street and Station Road

Scheduled Date: 30 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014828

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28524

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: South Cerney

Built-Up Area: South Cerney

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: South Cerney All Hallows

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes a restored village cross (Grade II Listed) situated at a
road junction in the village of South Cerney.
The cross has a square three step calvary, a socket stone, shaft and head. The
first step of the calvary is 2.4m wide and 0.1m high, the second step is 1.9m
wide and 0.25m high, and the third step is 1.3m wide and 0.25m high. Above
this is the socket stone, 0.7m across, with the octagonal base of the cross
shaft balanced on it. The shaft is c.2.1m high surmounted by a stone ball and
iron cross.
The calvary is constructed from stone blocks, and belongs to the old
structure, but the socket stone and shaft appear to have been added later. The
ball and cross are modern, though in position in the mid-19th century. The
oldest parts of the cross are considered to be 15th century.

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.

Despite the shaft and head having been restored, the standing cross in the
village of South Cerney survives well with part of its original elements
intact and in what is likely to be its original location. Its position at the
road junction makes the monument a local landmark and a tangible link with the
medieval period. It is one of several Gloucestershire medieval village

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 31
Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Sites and Monuments Record,

Source: Historic England

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