Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross in St Phillip and St James's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Tarrington, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.0631 / 52°3'47"N

Longitude: -2.5576 / 2°33'27"W

OS Eastings: 361868.008856

OS Northings: 240674.689933

OS Grid: SO618406

Mapcode National: GBR FS.D46H

Mapcode Global: VH85R.MD7R

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Phillip and St James's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016338

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29876

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Tarrington

Built-Up Area: Tarrington

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Tarrington

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located
approximately 10m to the south east of the south porch of St Phillip and St
James's Church. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is medieval in date with
later additions. It includes a base of two steps and a socket stone, part of
the shaft, a modern stone capital and a sundial.
The base is square in plan and is constructed from grey sandstone blocks,
similar to those used in the construction of the church. The top of the bottom
step measures 2m square and lies level with the ground surface. The top step
measures 1.5m square and 0.3m high. The socket stone rests on the top step and
measures 0.84m square at the base. At a height of 0.54m the sides bevel up to
a smaller square with a raised octagon on the surface. The full height of the
socket stone is 0.8m. A simple ogee headed niche in the west face of the
socket stone 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. The shaft is
mortised into the socket stone and bonded with lead. It is 0.28m square at the
base and rises through chamfered corners in tapering octagonal section to a
height of 0.6m. On top of the shaft is a modern circular capital, constructed
from red sandstone, with a circular, bronze sundial attached to the surface
by lead and iron rivets. The capital measures 0.28m in diameter and 0.22m high
and the sundial has a diameter of 0.26m. The overall height of the monument is
The gravemarker immediately to the south of the cross is excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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 remains of the churchyard cross at St Phillip and St James's Church
represent a good example of a medieval standing cross with a square stepped
base. It occupies a prominent position to the south east of the south porch
and is believed to stand in or near its original position. The addition of the
sundial demonstrates the continued function of the cross as a public monument
and amenity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of Historical Monuments in Herefordshire, (1930), 183
Marples, B, 'Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club' in The Niche in Medieval Churchyard Crosses, , Vol. 40, (1972), 321-332

Source: Historic England

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