Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross in St John The Baptist's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Stoke Orchard, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.9637 / 51°57'49"N

Longitude: -2.1395 / 2°8'22"W

OS Eastings: 390509.144102

OS Northings: 229479.970123

OS Grid: SO905294

Mapcode National: GBR 1JY.ZV6

Mapcode Global: VH93T.VWSZ

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St John The Baptist's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 30 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015112

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28526

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Stoke Orchard

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Tredington St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes a restored cross situated in the churchyard at
Tredington c.10m south east of the church.
The cross has a square, four step, calvary, a socket stone, a shaft with
restored decorated terminal surmounted by a Maltese cross. The first step of
the calvary is 3m wide and 0.25m high; the second step is 2.4m wide and 0.25m
high; the third and fourth steps are 1.825m and 1.475m long and 0.25m and
0.275m high respectively. Above this is the square socket stone which has
broaches (chamfers of angles to bring stone on a square plan to octagonal) at
its angles, forming an octagonal top. It is 0.9m wide and 0.55m high. The c.3m
high shaft, square at the bottom, tapers to the restored Maltese cross head
and becomes octagonal in section.
The calvary is constructed from stone blocks. The socket stone is hewn from
one piece of stone. These, and the shaft have the appearance of great age, but
the shaft terminal and head are more recent. There are a number of drill holes
on the east side of the shaft c.2m from the ground where it is thought that
either an escutcheon or small crucifix was attached. The oldest parts of the
cross are considered to be 14th century.
The cross is Listed Grade II.

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 top of the shaft and head having been restored, the standing cross
in the churchyard at Tredington survives well with many of its original
elements intact in what is likely to be its original location.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 30
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 31

Source: Historic England

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