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Wayside cross at Calmsden

A Scheduled Monument in North Cerney, Gloucestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.7764 / 51°46'34"N

Longitude: -1.9355 / 1°56'7"W

OS Eastings: 404542.846363

OS Northings: 208634.442781

OS Grid: SP045086

Mapcode National: GBR 3Q6.PG9

Mapcode Global: VHB2C.DMM3

Entry Name: Wayside cross at Calmsden

Scheduled Date: 3 January 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015423

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28528

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: North Cerney

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: North Cerney All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester

Details

The monument includes a cross situated on a roadside verge at Calmsden. The
cross lies at the bottom of a south facing grass slope.
The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, has a four step pentagonal calvary, a
socket stone, and a shaft with a square terminal. The first step of the
calvary is 0.4m high and varies between 2.85m and 2.95m wide; the second step
is 0.3m high and between 2.3m and 2.4m wide; the third and fourth steps are
also 0.3m high and are 1.8m to 1.85m and 1.25m to 1.35m wide respectively.
Above this is the pentagonal socket stone, each side of which is 0.7m long.
The socket stone is 0.55m high with a square socket at its centre measuring
0.35m across. The 2.5m high shaft, square at the bottom, tapers to the square
cross head and becomes hexagonal in section. The shaft and head appear to be
made of the same stone. A spring emerges from a conduit about 0.3m below the
base of the calvary and empties into a metal trough. It has been suggested
that this is a holy spring, and that the cross was erected to mark its site,
but there is no direct evidence for this. The calvary is constructed from
stone blocks. The socket stone is hewn from one piece of stone as is the shaft
and head. It is thought that the cross head is later in date than the rest of
the cross. The cross is considered to be 14th century, and it has been
observed that it was perhaps erected to mark the ownership, by the Knights
Hospitallers, of land at Calmsden.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the
medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to
serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith
amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside
crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and
otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes
linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious
function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners
and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on
pilgrimages.
Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west
England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type
of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively
few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to
remote moorland locations.
Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross,
in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an
unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and
decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces
of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or
incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was
sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear
decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the
`Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both
faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the
North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed
base or show no evidence for a separate base at all.
Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval
religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval
routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth-
fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from
their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

The wayside cross at Calmsden survives well, and with the exception of the
cross head, with all of its original elements intact in what is likely to be
its original location. The cross has been linked with the Knights Hospitallers
of Jerusalem, and is unusual in its pentagonal calvary and socket stone. The
cross is erected over what is suggested to be a holy spring.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire: The Cotswolds, (1970), 338
Pooley, C, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, (1868), 70-71

Source: Historic England

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