Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross in St Bartholomew's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Westhide, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.0943 / 52°5'39"N

Longitude: -2.6057 / 2°36'20"W

OS Eastings: 358600.371908

OS Northings: 244172.459129

OS Grid: SO586441

Mapcode National: GBR FQ.BB7R

Mapcode Global: VH85J.SMBB

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Bartholomew's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016121

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29842

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Westhide

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Withington

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located within the
churchyard of St Bartholomew's Church, approximately 22m to the south west of
the church. The cross is of stepped form and is predominantly medieval in
date. It includes the base of three steps, a socket stone and the lower part
of the shaft.
The steps are circular in plan and are constructed of large sandstone blocks,
similar to those used in the church. All three steps are approximately 0.2m
high, and the diameter of the bottom step is 1.35m. On the uppermost step
rests the circular socket stone, approximately 0.81m in diameter and 0.22m
high. Set into the socket stone is the remaining 0.81m section of the shaft.
This is square in section at the base and rises through chamfered corners to a
tapering octagonal section. The shaft lacks both knop and head. Three loose
fragments of stone are positioned on the top of the shaft, each directly
resting above another. The lowest stone is a broken fragment of medieval
carved stone capital; resting above this is a scalloped stone capital. The
final fragment is an indeterminate piece of stone with a sundial dated 1739
riveted to it. The inscription on the sundial commemorates John Sandfoord
and Lancelott James, churchwardens in 1732. The full height of the cross is
approximately 1.74m.
The cross is Listed Grade II.
The two gravestones to the north west of the cross are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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 at St Bartholomew's is a good example of a medieval
standing cross with a circular stepped base and octagonal shaft. Located on
the edge of the churchyard it is believed to stand in or near its original
position. The cross has not been significantly restored and has continued in
use as a public monument and amenity from medieval times up to the present

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Blashill, T, St. Batholomew, Westhide. Christmas 1865, (1865)
RCHM, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Herefordshire, (1932)

Source: Historic England

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