Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross in St Michael's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Enmore, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.111 / 51°6'39"N

Longitude: -3.0872 / 3°5'13"W

OS Eastings: 323987.458396

OS Northings: 135193.034704

OS Grid: ST239351

Mapcode National: GBR M1.BCPC

Mapcode Global: VH7DN.FBSN

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Michael's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 3 May 1967

Last Amended: 3 January 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015457

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28822

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Enmore

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a cross situated in the churchyard of St Michael's
Church, Enmore, 7.5m south east of the church porch.
The cross has an octagonal three step calvary, a socket stone and shaft. The
first step of the calvary is 0.8m high, and the second and third steps are
each 0.25m high. The first step is 2.5m in diameter with mortared flagstones
on its upper surface, and each side of the octagon is 1m long. The second and
third steps have diameters of 1.7m and 1.2m respectively, each side of their
octagons being 0.7m and 0.5m long. On the third step is a socket stone with a
square base 0.8m across, narrowing to 0.6m at the top where there is a
circular moulded decoration. The socket stone is 0.6m high, and has a
decoration of three blank shields on each of its four faces. The central
socket is 0.3m square in which sits the c.1.5m high square shaft, tapering to
its top with collared shafts running up each corner. The shaft is capped with
lead. The cross is Listed Grade II*.
The calvary is constructed from stone blocks and mortared flagstones. The
socket stone is hewn from one piece of sandstone. The cross lies on a small
rise c.0.1m high, and probing in this area suggests there is stone c.0.2m
below the surface to a distance of 0.5m from the first calvary step which is
indicative of a further calvary step below ground. The cross is considered to
date to the 15th century.

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.

Although the cross head is missing, the standing cross in the churchyard at
Enmore survives well as a visually impressive monument of the medieval period
in what is likely to be its original location. The medieval cross relates to
the 12th century Church of St Michael.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 162-163

Source: Historic England

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