Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Churchyard cross in St Margaret's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Spaxton, Somerset

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 51.1272 / 51°7'37"N

Longitude: -3.1084 / 3°6'30"W

OS Eastings: 322530.685795

OS Northings: 137018.382475

OS Grid: ST225370

Mapcode National: GBR M1.96B8

Mapcode Global: VH7DG.2XKS

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Margaret's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 15 June 1967

Last Amended: 3 January 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015458

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28823

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Spaxton

Built-Up Area: Spaxton

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a cross situated in the churchyard of St Margaret's
Church, Spaxton, 7.2m south east of the church porch.
The cross has a three step calvary, a socket stone and shaft with square cross
head. The first two steps are octagonal, and the third is square. The first
step of the calvary is 0.55m high, and the second and third steps are each
0.2m high. The first step is 2.5m in diameter with mortared flagstones on its
upper surface, and each side of its octagon is 1m long. The second step has a
diameter of 1.8m, each side of its octagon being 0.8m long. The third step is
1.1m square, above which is an octagonal socket stone 0.9m in diameter and
0.45m high, each side of its octagon being 0.35m. The socket stone has a
decoration of a blank shield on each of its eight faces. The central socket is
0.4m square and lined with lead in which sits the c.2.5m high shaft, square at
its base, but then stopped and continuing in octagonal form as it tapers to
its top. The shaft is jointed c.0.9m from its top and carries a round moulding
and square cross head. The cross head has four canopied niches. On the east
and west sides is the Holy Rood, on the south a female figure in prayer, and
on the north a priest. The cross is Listed Grade I.
The calvary is constructed from stone blocks and mortared flagstones. The
socket stone is hewn from one piece of stone. 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 0.6m from the first calvary step which could indicate
a further calvary step below ground. The cross is considered to date to the
14th century.

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 standing cross in the churchyard at Spaxton 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 13th century church of
St Margaret.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 149-150

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.