Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Churchyard cross in St Peter's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Withington, Herefordshire,

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 52.0878 / 52°5'16"N

Longitude: -2.6351 / 2°38'6"W

OS Eastings: 356580.701059

OS Northings: 243465.131491

OS Grid: SO565434

Mapcode National: GBR FP.BNYT

Mapcode Global: VH85J.8SSB

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Peter's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016122

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29843

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Withington

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Withington

Church of England Diocese: Hereford

Details

The monument includes a standing stone cross located within the churchyard of
St Peter's Church, approximately 10m to the south of the south porch. The
cross is of stepped form and is principally medieval in date with some later
additions. The monument includes the base of three steps and a socket stone,
the shaft, the knop and the head.
The steps are octagonal in plan and are constructed of sandstone blocks,
similar to those utilised in the church. The bottom step is 2.4m in diameter,
and all three steps are approximately 0.17m high. The octagonal socket stone
rests on the uppermost step. It has a diameter of 0.62m and a height of 0.48m.
A simple niche with a pointed head has been cut into the western face of the
socket stone. This is thought to have been carved to hold the Pyx or Holy
Water when Mass was celebrated at the cross, or to hold a statue or icon. An
inscription carved into the socket stone indicates that the cross was restored
in 1897 by the parishioners to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the
coronation of Queen Victoria, 1837-1897. Set into the top of the socket stone
is the shaft, square in section at the base tapering upwards through chamfered
corners to an octagonal section. It is 1.76m high. A simple knop joins the
shaft to the head which takes the form of an open crucifix with foliate
terminals. The shaft, knop and head are all modern additions. The full height
of the cross is approximately 2.75m.
The cross is Listed Grade II.

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 at St Peter's is a good example of a medieval standing
cross with an octagonal stepped base and octagonal socket stone. Situated near
the south porch of the church it is believed to stand in or near its original
position. While only the steps and socket stone have survived from medieval
times the subsequent restoration of the shaft and the head illustrates the
continued function of the cross as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Hopton, M, The Crosses of Herefordshire, (1901)
Marples, B, 'Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club' in The Niche in Medieval Churchyard Crosses, , Vol. 40, (1972), 321-332
Other
2147/11/A Listed Buildings, RCHM, MHLG, (1960)

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.