Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross in St Michael and All Angels' churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Brampton Abbotts, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 51.9346 / 51°56'4"N

Longitude: -2.5817 / 2°34'54"W

OS Eastings: 360100.03831

OS Northings: 226395.189203

OS Grid: SO601263

Mapcode National: GBR FR.NB74

Mapcode Global: VH86B.6MHS

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Michael and All Angels' churchyard

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016129

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29850

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Brampton Abbotts

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire


The monument includes a standing stone cross located within the churchyard of
St Michael and All Angels' Church, approximately ten metres from the south
porch of the church. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is of stepped form
and is principally medieval in date with some later additions. The monument
includes a base of three steps and a socket stone, the shaft and the head.

The steps are square in plan and are constructed of grey sandstone blocks,
similar to the stone used in the construction of the church. The socket stone
rests on the uppermost step. It is made up of two stones, one directly above
the other. The lower stone is medieval; it is square at the base, and rises up
through chamfered corners to form an octagon. The upper stone is modern; it is
octagonal at the base, and also rises through chamfered corners to a smaller
octagon, and then to a square section, where it fits neatly with the shaft.
The lower part of the socket stone has an ogee-headed niche cut into its
western face, 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. Resting on the
top of the socket stone is the shaft. This is formed by two stone uprights,
each 2.5m high and 0.3m by 0.15m square. They are fitted together vertically
to form a tapering octagonal shaft with a diameter of 0.3m. The head takes
the form of a ringed crucifix. The upper part of the socket stone, the shaft
and the head are all later additions, thought to date from the 19th century.
The full height of the cross is approximately 4.5m.

The surface of the tarmac pathway on the north and west sides of the monument,
and the gravestone directly to the east, are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features 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 Michael and All Angels is a good example of a
medieval standing cross with a square stepped base. Situated near the south
porch of the church it is believed to stand in or near to its original
position. Whilst only the steps and the lower part of the socket stone have
survived from medieval times the subsequent restoration of the cross, with the
addition of the upper part of the socket stone, the shaft and the head
illustrates the continued function of the cross as a public monument and

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hopton, M, The Crosses of Herefordshire, (1901)
RCHM, An Inventory of the Monuments of Herefordshire, (1932)

Source: Historic England

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