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Latitude: 52.0186 / 52°1'7"N
Longitude: -2.5672 / 2°34'2"W
OS Eastings: 361169.92549
OS Northings: 235731.933451
OS Grid: SO611357
Mapcode National: GBR FS.GV3S
Mapcode Global: VH85Y.GJ5C
Entry Name: Churchyard cross, St George's churchyard
Scheduled Date: 1 August 1996
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1014887
English Heritage Legacy ID: 27529
Civil Parish: Woolhope
Traditional County: Herefordshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire
Church of England Parish: Woolhope
Church of England Diocese: Hereford
The monument includes a standing stone cross, situated in the churchyard of St
George's Church, Woolhope, approximately 20m south east of the south porch.
The monument includes a medieval base consisting of a socket stone set on
three steps, and the shaft and head which are of late 19th century date.
The steps are constructed of sandstone blocks, are square in plan and between
0.2m-0.28m in height, the bottom step being the highest and having sides of
c.3m. The socket stone is a single sandstone block 0.65m high with a diameter
of 0.95m. Its sides are chamfered above broached stops, to an octagonal
section with equal sides of 0.39m. A bronze plaque on the west face of the
socket stone records the restoration of the cross in 1897 to commemorate the
60th year of Queen Victoria's reign. Set into the socket stone is a tapering
stone shaft of octagonal section, surmounted by a decorated cross. The
gravestones to the north, east and south of the cross are totally excluded
from the scheduling.
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
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 Woolhope is a good example of a medieval stepped cross
with a restored shaft. Limited activity in the area immediately surrounding
the cross suggests that archaeological deposits relating to its construction
and use in this location are likely to survive intact. While the steps and
socket stone have survived from medieval times, the subsequent restoration of
the shaft illustrates the continued function of the cross as a public monument
Source: Historic England
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