Ancient Monuments

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Medieval standing cross 10m west of Broomhill Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Rampisham, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.8209 / 50°49'15"N

Longitude: -2.6199 / 2°37'11"W

OS Eastings: 356430.428612

OS Northings: 102550.662205

OS Grid: ST564025

Mapcode National: GBR MP.XQ2B

Mapcode Global: FRA 56DX.P5D

Entry Name: Medieval standing cross 10m west of Broomhill Cottage

Scheduled Date: 29 July 1960

Last Amended: 21 February 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015179

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27456

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Rampisham

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Rampisham St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes the remains of a village cross on a grass verge on the
eastern side of the road 10m west of Broomhill Cottage, Rampisham.
The Ham stone cross, probably of 14th century date, has a socket stone, now
partly buried in the road verge which was previously recorded as being
octagonal at the top and square at the base. Carvings are visible on the south
and east sides of the cross while the Ordnance Survey benchmark on the socket
stone is no longer visible. The cross shaft, set in a square socket hole run
in with lead, is 0.35m square at the base and tapers towards the top, with
moulded corners. The top of the cross has been broken off in antiquity and the
shaft survives to a height of 1.5m. There is a poorly defined carving on the
west face.
The cross originally stood on the green opposite the Tigers Head Inn, 260m to
the south west, which is now a modern road junction. It was moved to it
present position during the incumbency of the Reverend William Pace (1794-
1845). 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 fact that it has been removed from its original position, the
medieval standing cross 10m west of Broomhill Cottage, Rampisham, is still a
prominent feature of the village and remains an important example of its

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pope, A, Old Stone Crosses of Dorset, (1906), 92-94

Source: Historic England

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