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Churchyard cross in St Bridget's churchyard, Chelvey

A Scheduled Monument in Brockley, North Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.4117 / 51°24'42"N

Longitude: -2.7689 / 2°46'8"W

OS Eastings: 346619.09205

OS Northings: 168354.543728

OS Grid: ST466683

Mapcode National: GBR JH.Q876

Mapcode Global: VH7C8.YSK5

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Bridget's churchyard, Chelvey

Scheduled Date: 20 March 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015507

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28826

County: North Somerset

Civil Parish: Brockley

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Details

The monument includes a cross built into the south facing slope of the
churchyard at Chelvey c.8m south of the Church of St Bridget.
The cross, which is Listed Grade II, has an octagonal three step calvary, a
socket stone, shaft and head.
The first step of the calvary is 0.4m high, and the second and third steps are
0.3m and 0.25m high respectively. The first step is 2.5m in diameter with
mortared stones on its upper surface providing a benched finish, and each side
of the octagon is 1.5m long. The second and third steps have octagonal sides
of 0.8m and 0.5m respectively. On the third step is a socket stone with a
square base 0.7m across and 0.5m high, which has concave buttresses forming an
octagonal top. The central socket is 0.25m square in which sits the c.1.5m
high shaft. The shaft is square at the bottom and becomes octagonal as it
tapers to a box and ball decoration.
The top 0.5m of the shaft appears to have been repaired in two sections. The
box and ball decoration is recorded as a modern addition in 1877; prior to
this the stone block is reputed to have served as a sundial.

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.

Although the cross head is not original, the standing cross in the churchyard
at Chelvey 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 Church of St Bridget which had its origins in the Norman
period, but is largely 14th century.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 168-169

Source: Historic England

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