Ancient Monuments

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Village cross 170m north west of St Mary's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Childswickham, Worcestershire

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Latitude: 52.045 / 52°2'41"N

Longitude: -1.8938 / 1°53'37"W

OS Eastings: 407378.944954

OS Northings: 238515.064972

OS Grid: SP073385

Mapcode National: GBR 3LZ.N0Z

Mapcode Global: VHB11.4V5P

Entry Name: Village cross 170m north west of St Mary's Church

Scheduled Date: 5 February 1951

Last Amended: 24 December 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015288

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29370

County: Worcestershire

Civil Parish: Childswickham

Built-Up Area: Childswickham

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Childswyckham St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes a standing stone cross, situated at a road junction to
the north west of the church at Childswickham. The cross is constructed of
limestone and takes the form of a stepped base and socket stone, both medieval
in date, a shaft which is medieval and 18th century in date, and an ornamented
18th century head. The monument is Listed Grade II.
The cross base is formed of two steps, and is square in plan. The bottom step
is constructed of several courses of limestone blocks, and measures 2.2m in
width by 0.8m high. The top step has a width of 1.6m and is 0.18m high. The
socket stone is also square in plan, measuring 0.18m at the base, and is
broached at its angles to an octagonal top which is 0.48m high. The tapering
shaft is in two sections, the lower c.1.2m of which is medieval in date. It is
square at the base with a width of 0.36m, and its angles are chamfered above
broached stops. The upper section of the shaft dates to the 18th century
restoration of the cross. It is surmounted by an ornate head, which takes the
form of an urn on a moulded octagonal base.
The metalled road surface is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath it is included.

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.

The cross at Childswickham is a good example of a medieval standing cross with
a square socket stone and tapering shaft. Limited development in the area
immediately surrounding the cross suggests that archaeological deposits
relating to the monument's construction and use in this location are likely to
survive intact. While most of the cross has survived since medieval times, the
restoration of the head illustrates its continued function as a public
monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


Ancient monument description, Childswickham village cross,

Source: Historic England

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