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Village cross

A Scheduled Monument in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.6715 / 51°40'17"N

Longitude: -1.8609 / 1°51'39"W

OS Eastings: 409718.358479

OS Northings: 196976.836997

OS Grid: SU097969

Mapcode National: GBR 3RN.4BR

Mapcode Global: VHB2Z.P7LZ

Entry Name: Village cross

Scheduled Date: 3 January 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015133

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28801

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Down Ampney

Built-Up Area: Down Ampney

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Down Ampney All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

Details

The monument includes a restored village cross situated on a triangular green
in the village of Down Ampney at the junction of three roads.
The cross has a square three step calvary, a socket stone, and a restored
shaft surmounted by a restored cross head of lantern design. The first step of
the calvary is 2.75m long and 0.6m high, the second step is 2m long and 0.35m
high, and the third step is 1.4m long and 0.3m high. Above this is the square
socket stone which is 0.92m wide at its base, narrowing to 0.75m wide at its
top and 0.6m in height. The shaft is c.2m high topped by a decorated terminal
and above this is a latern-shaped head. On the north face of the lantern is a
depiction of the crucifixion, and on the south face a decoration of the
letters IS intertwined. The remaining two sides of the lantern have a lattice
decoration. The shaft, square at the bottom, tapers to become octagonal in
section.
The calvary is constructed from stone blocks. The socket stone is hewn from
one piece of stone. These have the appearance of some age, but the shaft and
head are 19th century. In 1875 the base was in situ without shaft or top
canopy. An inscription on the base of the shaft commemorates its restoration,
to the memory of Paul Butler, in 1878. The other parts of the cross are
considered to be medieval.

MAP EXTRACT
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

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the
medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to
serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith
amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside
crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and
otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes
linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious
function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners
and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on
pilgrimages.
Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west
England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type
of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively
few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to
remote moorland locations.
Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross,
in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an
unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and
decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces
of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or
incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was
sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear
decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the
`Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both
faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the
North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed
base or show no evidence for a separate base at all.
Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval
religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval
routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth-
fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from
their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

Despite the shaft and head being later than the other parts of the cross, the
village cross at Down Ampney survives well with many of its original elements
intact in what is likely to be its original location. Its position in the
centre of the village makes it an imposing monument and landmark.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, (1970), 219-220
Other
Gloucestershire County Council, Sites and Monuments Record for Gloucestershire,

Source: Historic England

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