Ancient Monuments

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Stepped cross base in the churchyard of St Leonard's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Warmingham, Cheshire East

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Latitude: 53.1459 / 53°8'45"N

Longitude: -2.4364 / 2°26'10"W

OS Eastings: 370908.161209

OS Northings: 361060.819794

OS Grid: SJ709610

Mapcode National: GBR 7X.5W44

Mapcode Global: WH99Z.K613

Entry Name: Stepped cross base in the churchyard of St Leonard's Church

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017839

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30361

County: Cheshire East

Civil Parish: Warmingham

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Warmingham St Leonard

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument includes a stepped base (Listed Grade II) for a standing cross
located in the southern quarter of the churchyard of St Leonard's Church. The
remains consist of three steps and a base block of red sandstone, into which a
fine limestone pillar with a sundial had been inserted in the 18th century.
The base block and steps were originally for a churchyard cross and are
medieval. The first step is a stone foundation, now level with the turf, about
2.4m square. The second step is 1.97m square and stands 0.24m high and the
third is 1.4m square and 0.24m high. The base block is 0.93m square and 0.38m
high with a chamfered top and a socle 0.33m square. The pillar is set into
this with lead and this stands 1.22m high and has been damaged at the top. The
sundial has been removed.
The gravestones which have been erected beside the cross are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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 cross base in the churchyard at Warmingham survives reasonably well,
despite the loss and subsequent replacement of the shaft, and is in its
original location on the south side of the church. The cross indicates that
the original parish church was medieval, even though there are no other traces
of a medieval foundation.

Source: Historic England


DNH, List of Buildings of Special Architectural and Historic Interest,

Source: Historic England

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