Ancient Monuments

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Standing cross at the junction of School Road and Astwood Lane

A Scheduled Monument in Hanbury, Worcestershire

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Latitude: 52.2756 / 52°16'32"N

Longitude: -2.0682 / 2°4'5"W

OS Eastings: 395446.094671

OS Northings: 264159.897077

OS Grid: SO954641

Mapcode National: GBR 2GP.CY5

Mapcode Global: VH9ZZ.32HC

Entry Name: Standing cross at the junction of School Road and Astwood Lane

Scheduled Date: 5 January 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019497

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31975

County: Worcestershire

Civil Parish: Hanbury

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Hanbury

Church of England Diocese: Worcester


The monument includes the standing and buried remains of the standing cross at
the junction of School Road and Astwood Lane, approximately 230m south of
Hanbury Church, standing on a prominent hill. The cross is believed to have
marked the entrance for a route through Feckenham Forest, and is Listed Grade
The visible remains of the standing cross consist of a socket stone and a
shaft. These remains stand in the centre of a large grass covered mound
measuring approximately 12m long by 9m wide, and 4.5m high. The mound occupies
the triangular island which exists at the junction, surrounded on all three
sides by the highway. This mound appears to include a large amount of river
washed cobbles in its construction. A small metal information plaque is
located on top of the mound to the south west of the cross. The mound is
steeper and higher on the southern, downhill side.
The socket stone, which is octagonal and measures approximately 1m wide
by approximately 0.5m high, has unintelligible inscribed graffiti around the
outer edge of its top surface. This graffiti is believed to be medieval.
The shaft, which is mounted in a square socket, measures approximately 0.25m
by 0.25m by 0.8m high. There is no evidence of decoration on the shaft, which
is considerably weather worn.
The modern information plaque is not included in the scheduling, although the
ground beneath it is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 standing cross at the junction of School Road and Astwood Lane survives
well in or near its original position. The survival of the cross illustrates
its continuing importance as a landscape feature, in addition to providing
evidence for the importance of standing crosses as boundary markers for
forests and other forms of landholding.
The mound will be expected to preserve evidence for the foundations,
construction details and original appearance and setting of the cross.

Source: Historic England

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