Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross in St Mary's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Madley, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.0436 / 52°2'37"N

Longitude: -2.8474 / 2°50'50"W

OS Eastings: 341973.971105

OS Northings: 238699.748885

OS Grid: SO419386

Mapcode National: GBR FD.FJ9Z

Mapcode Global: VH784.LWJQ

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Mary's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016340

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29878

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Madley

Built-Up Area: Madley

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Madley with Tyberton

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes a standing stone cross, located within the churchyard of
St Mary's Church, approximately 12m to the south west of the nave. The cross,
which is Listed Grade II*, is medieval in date. It is of stepped form and
includes a base of a single step and socket stone, a shaft and a gabled cross
The single step is square in plan measuring 1.23m square and 0.2m high on the
south side and 0.13m high on the north side. The socket stone measures 0.72m
square and rises through chamfered corners to a moulded octagonal section and
measures 0.56m high. A simple round 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 measures 0.28m square
at the base, rising through chamfered corners in tapering octagonal section to
a height of approximately 2.44m. At the top of the shaft is a gabled cross
head facing east and west. The east face portrays Christ on the Crucifix
whilst the west face portrays the Virgin and Child. The overall height of the
cross is approximately 3.6m.

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 Mary's Church represents a good example of a
medieval standing cross with a square stepped base. It occupies a prominent
position to the south of the church and is believed to stand in or near its
original position. Whilst most of the cross has survived from medieval times
the subsequent restoration of the cross indicates its continued function as a
public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Marples, B J, 'The Woolhope Naturalists Field Club' in Herefordshire Churchyard Crosses, , Vol. 40, (1972), 321-33
Watkins, A, 'The Woolhope Naturalists Field Club' in Herefordshire Churchyard Crosses, (1918), 114-116
RCHM, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Herefordshire, (1931)

Source: Historic England

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