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Lew village cross

A Scheduled Monument in Lew, Oxfordshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.7547 / 51°45'16"N

Longitude: -1.5318 / 1°31'54"W

OS Eastings: 432414.317256

OS Northings: 206326.920241

OS Grid: SP324063

Mapcode National: GBR 6VX.X4T

Mapcode Global: VHC07.D5K5

Entry Name: Lew village cross

Scheduled Date: 19 October 1960

Last Amended: 12 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015177

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28159

County: Oxfordshire

Civil Parish: Lew

Traditional County: Oxfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: Bampton with Clanfield

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

Details

The monument includes the remains of a typical late medieval village cross,
situated beside the road south of Holy Trinity Church, in Lew.
It has a square masonry base, constructed of oolite blocks and measuring up to
2m across. This is the lowest of three steps and includes slabs forming a
seat. The top step supports a single square socket stone set into which is the
base of a shaft. The whole monument stands up to 2.3m high. The head of the
cross is no longer present.
Local tradition names the monument as `the horse's monument'.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 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 loss of its head, the Lew village cross stands in its original
location and the ground beneath and around its base will contain
archaeological evidence relating to its construction and the land surface on
which it was built. The seat feature, which forms part of its base steps, is
unusual for this type of cross.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
PRN 2573, C.A.O., LEW CROSS, (1993)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series
Source Date: 1980
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:
SP 30 NW

Source: Historic England

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