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Churchyard cross in St David's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Much Dewchurch, Herefordshire,

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.976 / 51°58'33"N

Longitude: -2.7556 / 2°45'20"W

OS Eastings: 348195.499002

OS Northings: 231108.530001

OS Grid: SO481311

Mapcode National: GBR FJ.KP2R

Mapcode Global: VH861.6L2J

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St David's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 11 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016111

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29853

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Much Dewchurch

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Much Dewchurch

Church of England Diocese: Hereford

Details

The monument includes a standing stone cross, located approximately 12m to the
west of St David's Church. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is of stepped
form and is medieval in origin with some later additions. The cross takes the
form of a base of four steps and a socket stone, the shaft, the knop and the
head.

The steps are square in plan and constructed of sandstone blocks. The bottom
step is 3.48m square. All four steps are between 0.31m and 0.34m in height.
The socket stone is a single sandstone block 0.57m high and 0.85m square, its
top edges bevelled to form a smaller square.
An inscription on the north face states that the cross was `Restored in 1870
by Public Subscription'. A shallow triangular-headed niche of post-medieval
date, cut into the east face of the socket stone, is believed to have been the
setting for a bronze plaque known to have existed up until the 1970s. The
plaque bore the inscription `This cross after long neglect was restored by the
care and carved by the hand of John Tournay Parsons for 28 years Vicar of this
parish, In love unwearied, in labours abundant, he rested July 23, 1878'. Set
into the socket stone is a stone shaft, square at the base and tapering
upwards through chamfered corners to an octagonal section. This is surmounted
by a decorative knop and head. The shaft, knop and head are all modern
additions.

The gravestones to the east, south and north west of the cross are excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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

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 churchyard cross in St David's churchyard is a good example of a medieval
standing cross with a square stepped base and a square socket stone. Situated
in a prominent position to the west of the church, it is believed to stand in
or near to its original position. Whilst parts of the cross have survived from
medieval times, subsequent restoration has resulted in its continued function
as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Seaton, W B, History of the Deanery of Archenfield, (1903), 26
Marples, B, 'Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club' in The Niche in Medieval Churchyard Crosses, , Vol. 40, (1972), 324

Source: Historic England

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