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Churchyard cross in St Michael and All Angels' churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Mansell Lacy, Herefordshire,

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.1053 / 52°6'19"N

Longitude: -2.8401 / 2°50'24"W

OS Eastings: 342553.769305

OS Northings: 245549.698675

OS Grid: SO425455

Mapcode National: GBR FF.9D40

Mapcode Global: VH77Y.QBDY

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Michael and All Angels' churchyard

Scheduled Date: 24 October 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018012

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29881

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Mansell Lacy

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Mansel Lacy with Yazor

Church of England Diocese: Hereford

Details

The monument includes a standing stone cross, located within the churchyard of
St Michael and All Angels' Church, approximately 7m to the south of the south
porch. The cross is medieval in date with later additions. It is of stepped
form and includes a base of four steps and a socket stone, the shaft, the knop
and the head.
The base is octagonal in plan and is constructed from sandstone blocks. The
diameter of the bottom step is 2.56m. The steps rise to a height of 0.71m and
are unmortared. The socket stone consists of two separate stones each being
octagonal in plan. The lower of the two stones is 0.82m in diameter by 0.46m
high. A simple ogee headed niche, cut into the west face of this stone, is
thought to have been carved to hold the Pyx or Holy Water when Mass was
celebrated at the cross, or to hold a statue or icon. The upper stone is a
modern addition, with a diameter of 0.52m and a height of 0.3m. The shaft is
also modern and measures 1.98m high, it is octagonal in section and bevels
upwards to a smaller octagon. The moulded octagonal knop at the top of the
shaft supports the head, which is open-armed with simple foliate decoration.
The upper part of the socket stone, the shaft, the knop and the head are all
modern additions. The overall height of the cross is approximately 4.45m.

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 St Michael and All Angels' Church represents a good
example of a medieval standing cross with an octagonal stepped base. It
occupies a prominent position to the south east of the south porch and is
believed to stand in or near its original position. Whilst much of the cross
has survived from medieval times, subsequent restoration of the cross has
resulted in its continued function as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Marples, B, 'Transactions of the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club' in The Niche in Medieval Churchyard Crosses, , Vol. 40, (1972), 321-332

Source: Historic England

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