Ancient Monuments

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Cross north of St Mary's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Ripple, Worcestershire

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Latitude: 52.038 / 52°2'16"N

Longitude: -2.1823 / 2°10'56"W

OS Eastings: 387593.159

OS Northings: 237750.566

OS Grid: SO875377

Mapcode National: GBR 1J4.14C

Mapcode Global: VH93M.415H

Entry Name: Cross north of St Mary's Church

Scheduled Date: 18 May 1951

Last Amended: 13 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014908

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27552

County: Worcestershire

Civil Parish: Ripple

Built-Up Area: Uckinghall

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Ripple

Church of England Diocese: Worcester


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross, situated c.20m
north of the north porch of St Mary's Church, Ripple. It was probably erected
on the orders of the Bishop of Worcester in 1229 for use in Palm Sunday
observances. The cross includes a stepped base, socket stone, and the remains
of its shaft, all of medieval date. It is Listed Grade II.
The base has two steps, the lower of which has subsided to ground level on the
south and east and elsewhere has been repaired with concrete blocks. The steps
have sides 1.9m long at the base. The socket stone is 0.6m high and is square
in section at the base. It rises in two stages, with an offset half way up,
above which the angles are chamfered above stops and rise to an octagonal top.
Into this is set the shaft, which survives to a height of just over 1m. This
is also square at the base with angles chamfered above broach stops. The
nearby cross on the village green is the subject of a separate scheduling
(SM 27551).
The grave marker to the south east of the cross is excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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.

The cross at St Mary's Church is a good example of a medieval standing cross
with a stepped base and chamfered socket stone. 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 cross
is a rare dated example to which a documentary reference for its construction
can be suggested and, standing in its original location in the churchyard, it
continues to be regarded as a public amenity.

Source: Historic England


DOE, Buildings of Special Hist & Arch Interest,

Source: Historic England

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