Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross in St Andrew's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Loxton, North Somerset

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Latitude: 51.298 / 51°17'52"N

Longitude: -2.896 / 2°53'45"W

OS Eastings: 337626.329698

OS Northings: 155811.81072

OS Grid: ST376558

Mapcode National: GBR JB.YD86

Mapcode Global: VH7CS.RMCT

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Andrew's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 18 January 1977

Last Amended: 23 December 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015514

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28836

County: North Somerset

Civil Parish: Loxton

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a restored cross cut into the east facing slope of the
churchyard at Loxton, 3.7m south of the church.

The cross has an octagonal three step calvary, a socket stone and shaft with
octagonal finial and square lantern cross head. The first step of the calvary
is 0.4m high, and the second and third steps are each 0.3m high. The first
step is 2.7m in diameter with drip moulding on its upper surface, and the
sides of its octagon vary between 1.1m and 1.3m long. The second and third
steps have octagonal sides of 0.9m and 0.6m respectively. Above the third step
is a socket stone with square base 0.8m wide and 0.5m high. Broaches at the
angles of the stone result in an octagonal top. The central socket is 0.4m
square, and in this is cemented the 0.35m wide base of the shaft. The shaft,
square at its base, is then stopped and continues in octagonal form as it
tapers to its top. The shaft is c.2.5m high and jointed c.0.5m from its top
where it has been restored. At the top of the shaft is an octagonal moulding,
above which is a square lantern cross head, both of which are part of the
restoration. The cross head has four canopied niches. On the east and west
sides respectively are the Madonna with Child and Holy Rood, on the south an
ecclesiastical figure, and on the north a saint. The cross is Listed Grade II.

The calvary is constructed from stone blocks, and the socket stone is hewn
from one piece of stone. Probing around the area of the calvary did not
suggest that there was stone below the surface, but a 19th century account of
the cross indicates that there may be a further calvary step below ground. The
cross is considered to date to the 15th century. It was restored by the local
Tiarks family in 1910.

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 top part of the shaft and the cross head are not original, the
standing cross in the churchyard at Loxton 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 Andrew
which had its origins in the Norman period, but is largely 14th century.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 171

Source: Historic England

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