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Churchyard cross at St James' and St Paul's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Marton, Cheshire East

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.2087 / 53°12'31"N

Longitude: -2.2256 / 2°13'32"W

OS Eastings: 385028.871444

OS Northings: 367982.181789

OS Grid: SJ850679

Mapcode National: GBR 11R.VHV

Mapcode Global: WHBBT.SMC0

Entry Name: Churchyard cross at St James' and St Paul's Church

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017841

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30364

County: Cheshire East

Civil Parish: Marton

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Marton St James

Church of England Diocese: Chester

Details

The monument includes a cross in the churchyard on the south side of St James'
and St Paul's Church. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, consists of a
modern gritstone block which has been inserted under a medieval sandstone
cross base on the original site of the cross, 5m from from the south wall of
the church and 5m south east of the south porch.
The modern block measures 1.05m square and 0.15m high above ground level. The
older cross base is cut in the form of two steps; the first is 0.68m square
and 0.28m high, the second is 0.55m square and 0.15m high. Set into the socle
is a shaft, broken off at 0.55m and revealing a metal pin. The remainder of
the cross with the head blew down in 1991, is now retained inside the church
and is not included in the scheduling. The shaft is square at the bottom,
rising to octagonal. There are slots cut into the stone of the shaft on the
north and south faces. These were to secure the cross with iron ties as a
repair in the past.
Gravestones which have been laid flat on the north and south sides of the
cross 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 at Marton survives well despite the loss of the cross
head and about half of the shaft. The cross head and remainder of the shaft
are preserved inside the adjacent church. This survival of a complete medieval
cross is rare in Cheshire.

Source: Historic England

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