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Churchyard cross, St Chad's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Norton in Hales, Shropshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.9445 / 52°56'40"N

Longitude: -2.4426 / 2°26'33"W

OS Eastings: 370353.848001

OS Northings: 338662.210001

OS Grid: SJ703386

Mapcode National: GBR 7X.LF6B

Mapcode Global: WH9BY.G820

Entry Name: Churchyard cross, St Chad's Church

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015655

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29365

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Norton in Hales

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Norton-in-Hales St Chad

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

Details

The monument includes a standing stone cross situated in the churchyard of St
Chad's, Norton in Hales, c.5m south of the south chapel. The cross takes the
form of a socket stone and shaft, both medieval in date, with a 19th century
cross head, and is Listed Grade II.
The socket stone is square in plan with sides of 0.7m, and is 0.35m high. It
has chamfered edges. The shaft is also square in plan at the base, and has
chamfered angles above broached stops. It measures 0.4m in width at the base
and is 1.65m high. Both socket stone and shaft are of 15th or 16th century
date. The top of the cross is a 19th century restoration, and takes the form
of an octagonal block, 0.35m in diameter and 0.12m high, which forms the base
for an ornate cast iron cross head.

MAP EXTRACT
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 cross in St Chad's churchyard is a good example of a medieval standing
cross with a square socket stone. Limited development in the area immediately
surrounding the cross suggests that archaeological deposits relating to the
monument's construction and use in this location are likely to survive intact.
While parts of the cross have survived from medieval times, the subsequent
restoration of the cross head illustrates its continued function as a public
monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
43rd list, DOE, Listed building description, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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