Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Wayside cross at junction of High Street and Bank Street

A Scheduled Monument in Williton, Somerset

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 51.1601 / 51°9'36"N

Longitude: -3.3208 / 3°19'14"W

OS Eastings: 307736.793001

OS Northings: 140923.774

OS Grid: ST077409

Mapcode National: GBR LR.70KH

Mapcode Global: VH6GW.D39H

Entry Name: Wayside cross at junction of High Street and Bank Street

Scheduled Date: 10 June 1952

Last Amended: 9 March 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017292

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32189

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Williton

Built-Up Area: Williton

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Details

The monument includes a medieval cross located on the south side of Bank
Street at its junction with High Street.
Constructed of red sandstone, the remains of the original cross structure
include the socket stone and part of the shaft. The socket stone is 0.8sq m at
its base and 0.35m high with the upper corners chamfered to an octagon. The
remaining section of shaft measures 0.75m high with an octagonal base and
broached corners and is leaded into the socket stone.
The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, is recorded as having probably been
sited originally at the centre of the junction between Priest Street and Fore
Street.
The concrete flower planter located adjacent to the cross, to its east, and
the bench located to the south, where they lie within the cross's 1m
protective margin, are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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 medieval wayside cross at junction of High Street and Bank Street survives
reasonably well despite the loss of part of the shaft, and some weathering. It
remains close to its original location and maintains its function of marking
the major crossroads at Williton.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 69

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.