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Latitude: 51.1969 / 51°11'48"N
Longitude: -2.5876 / 2°35'15"W
OS Eastings: 359040.713517
OS Northings: 144348.600175
OS Grid: ST590443
Mapcode National: GBR MR.4S9K
Mapcode Global: VH8B0.35FT
Entry Name: Medieval standing cross 80m south of St Mary's Church
Scheduled Date: 9 April 1952
Last Amended: 8 April 1997
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1015796
English Heritage Legacy ID: 29766
Civil Parish: Croscombe
Built-Up Area: Croscombe
Traditional County: Somerset
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset
The monument includes a stone cross of probable 14th century date situated 80m
south of St Mary's Church, at the junction between Church Street and High
The cross includes an octagonal base of three steps, the lower of which is
abutted by the pavement on the north and east sides. The steps are well worn
and have, at some time in the past, been repaired with four large iron
Above the base is an octagonal socket stone with a chamfered base and a drip
moulding at the top. It is 0.66m high and each face is c.0.30m long.
The tapering cross shaft is octagonal and is surmounted by a multifaceted
ball. It is 2m high but only the lower c.0.30m is of medieval date.
The cross is Listed Grade II*.
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
Source: Historic England
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.
Despite the fact that the shaft has been replaced, the medieval standing cross
80m south of St Mary's Church, Croscombe is well preserved and, surviving in
its original position, remains an important example of its class.
Source: Historic England
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