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Churchyard cross, St Bartholomew's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Much Marcle, Herefordshire,

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.992 / 51°59'31"N

Longitude: -2.5005 / 2°30'1"W

OS Eastings: 365725.973141

OS Northings: 232737.619736

OS Grid: SO657327

Mapcode National: GBR FW.JLCG

Mapcode Global: VH865.L6X7

Entry Name: Churchyard cross, St Bartholomew's Church

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015298

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27569

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Much Marcle

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Much Marcle with Yatton

Church of England Diocese: Hereford

Details

The monument includes a standing stone cross, situated in the churchyard of St
Bartholomew's Church, Much Marcle, approximately 25m east of the south porch.
The cross takes the form of a stepped base, socket stone and shaft, all of
which are 15th century in date.
The base is octagonal in plan and includes four steps composed of red
sandstone blocks. The bottom step has a diameter of 4m, and the base is c.1m
high. The cross base is set on a slight slope and the lower step is flush with
the surrounding grass on the west side. The socket stone, also octagonal in
section, is set on a low plinth, 0.2m high and 1.1m in diameter. The socket
stone itself measures 0.9m at the base and is 0.65m high. The chamfered sides
of the socket narrow to a moulded rim. The broken shaft has a diameter of 0.3m
at the base and stands 0.8m high.
The grave marker to the west of the cross and the metalled path surface to the
north are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is
included.

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

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 in St Bartholomew's churchyard is a good example of a medieval
standing cross with an octagonal stepped base. It is believed to stand in its
original position, and 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. The cross
has continued in use as a public monument and amenity from medieval times
through to the present day.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
RCMN, RCHM Herefordshire Volume 2, (1932)

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

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