Ancient Monuments

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Grimley churchyard cross

A Scheduled Monument in Grimley, Worcestershire

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Latitude: 52.2439 / 52°14'38"N

Longitude: -2.2411 / 2°14'27"W

OS Eastings: 383637.296192

OS Northings: 260666.030696

OS Grid: SO836606

Mapcode National: GBR 1FJ.B74

Mapcode Global: VH92F.3VLP

Entry Name: Grimley churchyard cross

Scheduled Date: 25 June 1973

Last Amended: 1 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014886

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27527

County: Worcestershire

Civil Parish: Grimley

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Grimley

Church of England Diocese: Worcester


The monument includes a medieval standing stone cross located in the
churchyard of St Bartholomew's Church, Grimley, approximately 12m ESE of the
south porch. The cross, which is probably of 15th century date, has been
restored and is Listed Grade II. It includes a base of two steps with a square
socket stone, and a shaft surmounted by the remains of a sundial. The steps
are constructed of large sandstone blocks and are square in plan, with sides
roughly 1.6m long. Due to gradual subsidence the bottom step is now below
ground level. The grey sandstone socket stone has sides c.1.1m long, is
c.0.64m high, and has chamfered upper edges. The square based shaft is of
shelly limestone and retains a lead seal where it is set into the base. Its
angles become chamfered above broach stops roughly 0.3m from the base, thus
the upper part of the shaft is octagonal in plan. Its overall height is
c.1.65m. The sundial takes the form of a square sandstone block with vestiges
of the metal dial set into its east face. Traces of its metal pin, or gnomon,
protrude on the west and south faces of the stone block.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 1 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.

The churchyard cross at Grimley is a good example of a medieval standing cross
with a square socket stone and chamfered shaft. It is believed to stand in its
original position, and limited activity in the area immediately surrounding
the cross suggests that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's
construction and use in this location are likely to survive intact. Its
adaptation as a sundial illustrates the continued use of the cross as a public
monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England

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