Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross, St Mary's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Shrawley, Worcestershire

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Latitude: 52.2808 / 52°16'51"N

Longitude: -2.2856 / 2°17'8"W

OS Eastings: 380609.396272

OS Northings: 264782.038179

OS Grid: SO806647

Mapcode National: GBR 0CK.YSC

Mapcode Global: VH926.BXJW

Entry Name: Churchyard cross, St Mary's Church

Scheduled Date: 27 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014901

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27533

County: Worcestershire

Civil Parish: Shrawley

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Shrawley and Witley, Great and Little

Church of England Diocese: Worcester


The monument includes a stone standing cross base, situated in the churchyard
of St Mary's Church, Shrawley, approximately 5m south east of the south porch.
The medieval cross base, which is Listed Grade II*, is of stepped form, and
includes the foundation, base, plinth, and socket stone. It is surmounted by
an early 19th century sundial.
The three steps are square in plan, constructed of red sandstone blocks, with
a diameter of 2.8m at the base and an overall height of c.0.8m. The socket
stone rests on a moulded plinth, formed of a block of red sandstone, 0.9m
square and 0.3m high. The socket stone itself is a single block of greyish
yellow sandstone, 0.5m high and 0.9m square at the base. Its angles are
chamfered above moulded stops, rising to an octagonal section. Set in the
position of the original shaft is a small sandstone block carrying a sundial
dated 1819, and inscribed `Ab Hoc Momento pendet Aeternitas'. The overall
height of the cross is approximately 1.6m.

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 cross in the churchyard of St Mary's Church, Shrawley, is a good example
of a medieval standing cross base of stepped form with a moulded plinth. It is
believed to stand in its original position, and limited development 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. The reuse of the cross as a sundial illustrates its continued
function as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


plan, section, C J B, Shrawley: Churchyard Cross, (1969)

Source: Historic England

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