Ancient Monuments

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Dorstone village cross

A Scheduled Monument in Dorstone, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.0693 / 52°4'9"N

Longitude: -3.003 / 3°0'10"W

OS Eastings: 331345.172

OS Northings: 241687.451

OS Grid: SO313416

Mapcode National: GBR F6.CV02

Mapcode Global: VH781.W8S0

Entry Name: Dorstone village cross

Scheduled Date: 8 July 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017571

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29869

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Dorstone

Built-Up Area: Dorstone

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Dorstone

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes the remains of Dorstone village cross, a standing stone
cross located on the village green, approximately 140m to the south west of
St Faith's Church. The remains of the cross take the form of a socket stone,
shaft and sundial. The cross is Listed Grade II.

The socket stone is square to octagonal in plan and measures 0.76m square. The
surface of the stone is level with the surrounding ground. The shaft is set
into the top of the socket stone. It is square at the base and rises through
chamfered corners to a tapering octagonal section. It is 0.16m square and
2.14m high. The top of the shaft has been cut off diagonally and has been
fitted with a circular sundial, which faces the north west. The sundial, dated
1812, measures 0.52m in diameter; it is made out of iron, and has an iron
spike, 0.22m long, projecting from the centre. The full height of the cross is
approximately 3.9m.

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 Dorstone village cross represent a good example of a medieval
standing cross, with a square to octagonal socket stone and a square to
octagonal tapering shaft. The cross is believed to stand in or near its
original position on the village green. Whilst only the socket stone and shaft
are visible further remains of the cross, such as steps, may survive beneath
ground level. The cross has not been significantly altered, and the addition
of the sundial demonstrates its continued use as a public monument and

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Watkins, A, 'Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists' Field Club' in Herefordshire Wayside and Town Crosses, (1918), 249,253
RCHM, An Inventory of the Historical Monuments of Herefordshire, (1931)

Source: Historic England

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