Ancient Monuments

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Cross in All Saints' churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Newland, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.7825 / 51°46'56"N

Longitude: -2.6493 / 2°38'57"W

OS Eastings: 355306.998057

OS Northings: 209509.29732

OS Grid: SO553095

Mapcode National: GBR FN.YZD9

Mapcode Global: VH872.1G9F

Entry Name: Cross in All Saints' churchyard

Scheduled Date: 18 October 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015135

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28803

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Newland

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire


The monument includes a restored cross situated in the churchyard at Newland
c.20m south east of All Saints' Church. It has a square five step calvary, a
socket stone, a restored shaft with decorated terminal surmounted by the
cross. The first step of the calvary is 4.2m wide and 0.4m high; the second
step is 3.42m wide and 0.3m high; the third, fouth and fifth steps are 2.8m,
2.2m and 1.55m long respectively and are all 0.3m high. Above the calvary is
the square socket stone which has convex broaches at its angles, forming an
octagonal top. It is 0.95m wide and 0.75m high. In the east face of the socket
stone is a niche with a trefoiled head. The shaft, which is c.2m high, sits on
a 0.5m square plinth which is 0.23m high. This restored shaft is square at the
bottom and tapers to the restored cross head becoming octagonal in section.
The cross head is composed of four canopied niches, facing the four cardinal
points, each containing the sculptured figure of an angel with outspread
wings. The whole is surmounted by a cross.
The calvary is constructed from stone blocks. The socket stone is hewn from
one piece of stone. These have the appearance of great age, but the shaft and
head are more recent. In the work of the 19th century reconstruction, it
was found necessary to remove the steps which had sunk and become almost a
ruin. The stones were marked and reset in their old positions, with care not
to disturb the weather staining on their surface but the base was too damaged
to be retained as the base of a new cross, and was therefore accurately copied
in new sound stone. On the bottom of the new shaft is the inscription `This
Cross was restored in memory of Margaret Birt AD 1864'. The niche in the
socket stone is thought to have been used as a reliquary on the occasion of
divine service being celebrated there. 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.
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.

Despite the shaft and head having been restored, the standing cross in the
churchyard at Newland survives well with many of its original elements intact
in what is likely to be its original location. The cross is Listed Grade II.
It has two unusual features notably the convex broaches and the sculptured
niche on the socket stone, the latter reputedly used as a reliquary on the
occasion of divine service being celebrated there. The medieval cross lies
close to All Saints' Church which was built c.1200 AD. The church was extended
over the next 200 years, when it reached its final, present form.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 66
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 65

Source: Historic England

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