Ancient Monuments

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Putley churchyard cross

A Scheduled Monument in Putley, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.0356 / 52°2'8"N

Longitude: -2.5173 / 2°31'2"W

OS Eastings: 364612.476705

OS Northings: 237593.087914

OS Grid: SO646375

Mapcode National: GBR FV.FVKL

Mapcode Global: VH85Z.B32B

Entry Name: Putley churchyard cross

Scheduled Date: 1 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015449

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27528

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Putley

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Putley (Unknown)

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes a medieval standing stone cross situated in the
churchyard of Putley church, approximately 15m south east of the south porch.
The 14th century cross has an octagonal socket stone set on three steps, with
a chamfered shaft and ornamented head. The three steps are square in plan, and
constructed of large sandstone blocks, up to 0.3m deep. The structure has
subsided slightly and the bottom step, which is roughly 2.5m square, has sunk
to ground level. The socket stone is a sandstone block, c.0.47m high and
c.0.64m square at the base, chamfered above broach stops and rising to an
octagonal section with sides of 0.28m. There is an arched niche roughly 0.3m
high in the west face of the socket stone. The square base of the shaft
retains the lead sinkings, and the shaft itself tapers and is again chamfered
above broach stops to an octagonal section. The shaft is roughly 1.5m in
height. The head takes the form of a gabled canopy, c.0.47m high and
rectangular in section. Each face carries figure sculpture. The east face
depicts the Virgin and Child, the north face St Andrew, the west face presents
Christ on the cross, and south face shows a prelate holding a staff. The
latter is much worn, missing its head and the gable. The style of the
sculpture indicates a 14th century date for the cross.
The grave cover to the south of the cross and the grave marker to the west are
totally excluded from the scheduling.

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 churchyard cross at Putley is a well preserved example of a stepped cross
with an unusual sculpted head. Limited activity in the area immediately
surrounding the cross suggests that archaeological deposits relating to its
construction and use in this location are likely to survive intact. The
survival of the monument in its original location indicates its continuing use
as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


OS - quoted on SMR, DRB, (1971)
photo, RCHM, Herefordshire, Volume 2, (1932)

Source: Historic England

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