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Churchyard cross in St Peter's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Wymondham, Leicestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.7587 / 52°45'31"N

Longitude: -0.7396 / 0°44'22"W

OS Eastings: 485151.858

OS Northings: 318638.201002

OS Grid: SK851186

Mapcode National: GBR CQL.5SC

Mapcode Global: WHFK2.MX0J

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Peter's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017798

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30229

County: Leicestershire

Civil Parish: Wymondham

Built-Up Area: Wymondham

Traditional County: Leicestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Leicestershire

Church of England Parish: Wymondham St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Leicester

Details

The monument includes a standing stone cross located within the churchyard of
St Peter's Church, 1.49m east of the south porch against the nave wall. The
cross, which is Listed Grade II, is medieval in date and includes a socket
stone and part of a shaft.
The socket stone is approximately 0.76m square at its base and 0.28m high with
stepped corner mouldings. Set into the centre of the socket is a fluted stone
shaft, 1.15m high, of square section. The shaft is surmounted by a later
sundial. The full surviving height of the cross is approximately 1.43m.
The stone flags and tarmac path 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 churchyard cross in St Peter's churchyard represents a good example of a
medieval standing cross marking a graveyard. Situated immediately south of the
nave it is believed to stand in or near its original position. Limited
activity in the area immediately surrounding the cross indicates that
archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction in this
location will survive intact. The cross has not been significantly restored
and through subsequent adaptation into a sundial has continued in use as a
public monument and amenity from medieval times to the present day.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Nichols, J, The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, (1805)
Other
Leicestershire County Council, 81 NE.AT,
Listing Report: 14/150,
RCHME, NMR Long Report: SK 81 NE 14,

Source: Historic England

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