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Fenny Castle Cross: a medieval wayside cross 20m north west of Castle Farm, Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Wookey, Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.1938 / 51°11'37"N

Longitude: -2.7049 / 2°42'17"W

OS Eastings: 350838.247479

OS Northings: 144078.068887

OS Grid: ST508440

Mapcode National: GBR ML.50JS

Mapcode Global: VH89Y.28C5

Entry Name: Fenny Castle Cross: a medieval wayside cross 20m north west of Castle Farm, Castle

Scheduled Date: 31 October 1975

Last Amended: 8 April 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015797

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29767

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Wookey

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Details

The monument includes the remains of a medieval stone cross, considered to be
early 14th century, situated on a roadside verge, in a gap between a dry stone
wall and a hedge, 20m north west of Castle Farm, Castle.
The cross includes a square base of three steps, each of which is a single
stone in depth. The cross has been built into sloping ground so that, at the
rear, the ground is level with the top of the lowest step. Above this is a
square socket stone, 0.77m square and 0.65m high. The socket stone has broad
convex broaches at its top corners producing an octagonal top. The square
socket at its centre measures 0.35m across, from which 0.12m of surviving
shaft protrudes.
The cross is Listed Grade II.
There was formerly a well nearby with which the cross may have been associated
but this is not included in the scheduling. The cross is surrounded by a post
and rail fence; this is excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath it is included.

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

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the
medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to
serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith
amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside
crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and
otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes
linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious
function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners
and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on
pilgrimages.
Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west
England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type
of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively
few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to
remote moorland locations.
Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross,
in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an
unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and
decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces
of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or
incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was
sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear
decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the
`Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both
faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the
North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed
base or show no evidence for a separate base at all.
Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval
religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval
routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth-
fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from
their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

Although it has lost most of its shaft, the Fenny Castle Cross remains in its
original position and is a well preserved example of its class.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 177-178

Source: Historic England

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