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Churchyard cross shaft and base in St Stephen's churchyard, 3m south of the church

A Scheduled Monument in St. Stephen-in-Brannel, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.3438 / 50°20'37"N

Longitude: -4.8896 / 4°53'22"W

OS Eastings: 194496.283401

OS Northings: 53311.068401

OS Grid: SW944533

Mapcode National: GBR ZR.0GWR

Mapcode Global: FRA 08N4.6WF

Entry Name: Churchyard cross shaft and base in St Stephen's churchyard, 3m south of the church

Scheduled Date: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018695

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31839

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Stephen-in-Brannel

Built-Up Area: St Stephen

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Stephen-in-Brannel

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross shaft and base situated in
the churchyard at St Stephen in Brannel.
The churchyard cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as the upright shaft
and base of Pentewan stone set on a platform, also of Pentewan stone. Pentewan
stone is an intrusive white elvan from the south coast of Cornwall which was
used in the county for intricate carvings during the medieval period. The
shaft stands to a height of 0.79m, is of octagonal section and measures 0.28m
wide and thick at the base, tapering to 0.24m at the top. Four sides of the
shaft slope out above the base to form the moulded foot. This shaft is mounted
in a cross base which measures 0.62m north-south by 0.68m east-west and is
0.3m high. The base is moulded to form an octagonal section top springing from
a square section base. This base is mounted on a platform of blocks of
Pentewan stone, which measures 1.25m north-south by 1.2m east-west and is
0.24m high.
The style of the cross shaft and base suggest a late medieval date, and it has
been suggested that this cross originally had a lantern type cross head.
The metalled footpath to the north of the cross, the two gravestones to the
east and the wooden stake to the west, where they fall within the cross's
protective margin, are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 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 medieval churchyard cross in St Stephen's churchyard survives reasonably
well, despite the loss of its head. It maintains its original function as a
churchyard cross in its original churchyard. It is a good example of a late
medieval `gothic' style of cross shaft and base.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Other
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 85/95; Pathfinder 1353
Source Date: 1983
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Source: Historic England

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