Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross in St Margaret of Antioch's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Wellington, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.1298 / 52°7'47"N

Longitude: -2.7356 / 2°44'8"W

OS Eastings: 349738.8435

OS Northings: 248194.812

OS Grid: SO497481

Mapcode National: GBR FK.7VDQ

Mapcode Global: VH858.JQMP

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Margaret of Antioch's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016346

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29885

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Wellington

Built-Up Area: Wellington

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Wellington

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located within the
churchyard of St Margaret of Antioch's Church approximately 13m to the south
east of the south porch. The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, is medieval in
date. It is of stepped form and includes a base of four steps and a socket
stone, and the shaft.
The steps are octagonal in plan. The bottom step measures 3.92m in diameter.
The socket stone, which is set into a hole in the top step, is rectangular in
plan and rises through chamfered corners to an octagonal top. It measures
0.91m east to west by 0.79m north to south and is at least 0.29m in height.
The shaft is mortised into the socket stone and bonded with lead. It is 0.37m
east to west by 0.32m north to south at the base, rising through chamfered
corners in tapering octagonal section to a height of 3.28m. The top of the
shaft has been broken off at an angle. The overall height of the cross is
approximately 4.59m.

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 in St Margaret of Antioch's Church
represent a good example of a medieval standing cross with an octagonal
stepped base. Situated in a prominent location immediately to the south east
of the south porch, it is believed to stand in or near to its original
position. The cross has not been significantly restored, and has continued in
use as a public monument from medieval times until the present day.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of the Historic Monuments of Herefordshire, (1932), 201

Source: Historic England

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