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Churchyard cross in St Michael's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Buckland, Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.0226 / 52°1'21"N

Longitude: -1.8823 / 1°52'56"W

OS Eastings: 408174.375002

OS Northings: 236022.937502

OS Grid: SP081360

Mapcode National: GBR 3MC.4YF

Mapcode Global: VHB17.BF8B

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Michael's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 10 July 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015316

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28506

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Buckland

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Buckland St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

Details

The monument includes a restored standing cross situated in the churchyard at
Buckland c.8m north of the church.
The cross has a square two step calvary, a socket stone, and restored shaft
and head. The base of the calvary is 3.4m square and 0.2m high; the second
step is 2.75m square and 0.25m high. Above this the square socket stone, which
has a deep drip moulding on its upper face, is 0.9m square at its base and is
0.6m high. The restored shaft, square at the bottom, sits in a socket
which is 0.35m square. Above this it tapers, with square section, to the
restored head. The shaft is c.2m high. At the top of the shaft is a thickened
terminal which appears to be of more recent construction. The head is in the
shape of a Celtic cross.
The calvary is constructed from stone blocks. The socket stone is hewn from
one piece of stone. It is considered that the calvary and socket stone are
late 14th century.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

The churchyard cross at Buckland is believed to be in its original position.
Despite the restored shaft and head, the cross survives well as a visually
impressive monument essentially of the medieval period and relates to the 13th
century church in whose precinct it lies.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 20

Source: Historic England

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