Ancient Monuments

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Woodhey Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Faddiley, Cheshire East

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Latitude: 53.0693 / 53°4'9"N

Longitude: -2.6322 / 2°37'56"W

OS Eastings: 357733.379971

OS Northings: 352642.651015

OS Grid: SJ577526

Mapcode National: GBR 7N.BP3Q

Mapcode Global: WH9B8.J3RT

Entry Name: Woodhey Cross

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017062

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32566

County: Cheshire East

Civil Parish: Faddiley

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Acton St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument includes a standing cross at the junction of four lanes in the
centre of Woodhey Green.
The cross has two steps supporting a massive single stone block with a
fragment of the shaft remaining in the socket. The first step is set in the
ground with the top at ground level. It measures 1.9m by 1.95m, formed of
large ashlar sandstone blocks. The second step measures 1.3m square and 0.25m
high, again formed from sandstone blocks and very worn. The base block
measures 0.8m by 0.85m and is 0.52m high. On the eastern side the top surface
has the initials AH cut into the stone. This is also badly worn.
The shaft fragment is 0.34m square and stands 0.60m high.
The structure which is Listed Grade II*, is medieval and appears to be in its
original location at the road junction.

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 standing cross at the crossroads in the centre of Woodhey Green survives
well in spite of the loss of its head and part of the shaft. It stands in its
original location. It is typical in form of local stepped cross bases of the
mid to late medieval period. It is a good example of medieval devotional
building, and the proximity to Woodhey Hall suggests that it was erected under
the patronage of the family who lived there in the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Cheshire SMR, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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