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Cross in All Saints churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Bloxwich West, Walsall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.6148 / 52°36'53"N

Longitude: -2.0052 / 2°0'18"W

OS Eastings: 399745.068001

OS Northings: 301891.218001

OS Grid: SJ997018

Mapcode National: GBR 2BQ.3VM

Mapcode Global: WHBFV.5JDS

Entry Name: Cross in All Saints churchyard

Scheduled Date: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016435

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30038

County: Walsall

Electoral Ward/Division: Bloxwich West

Built-Up Area: Bloxwich

Traditional County: Staffordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Church of England Parish: Bloxwich All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Lichfield

Details

The monument includes the foundations, steps, socket stone, shaft, knop and
ball finial of a standing cross of red sandstone, located in the churchyard
of All Saints Church, approximately 8m south of the south porch of the church.
The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is of stepped form and principally
medieval in date with some later additions.
The two steps are square in plan, with the bottom step measuring 2.33m wide,
and at least 0.23m high. It is partially bonded to the foundations with
mortar. The top step measures 1.64m wide, and is at least 0.23m high. The
socket stone measures 0.97m wide, and is at least 0.42m high. The squared
end of the shaft is morticed into the socket. The shaft rises through
chamfered corners to a tapering octagonal section. The knop and the ball
finial head are early 20th century additions. The full height of the cross is
over 3m.
The path, where it falls within the monument's protective margin, is excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 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 cross in All Saints churchyard is a good example of a medieval
standing cross with a square stepped base and socket stone. Situated in a
prominent position close to the south entrance of the church, it is believed
to stand in or near its original position. The majority of the cross survives
from the medieval period, and the subsequent restoration of the head
illustrates the continued function of the cross as a public monument.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Various SMR Officers, Various unpublished notes, SMR File

Source: Historic England

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