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Churchyard cross in St Milburga's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Wixford, Warwickshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.1926 / 52°11'33"N

Longitude: -1.8695 / 1°52'10"W

OS Eastings: 409014.714003

OS Northings: 254931.8155

OS Grid: SP090549

Mapcode National: GBR 3K8.G52

Mapcode Global: VHB0G.K500

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Milburga's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019760

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33143

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Wixford

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Exhall with Wixford

Church of England Diocese: Coventry

Details

The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located in
St Milburga's churchyard approximately 3.5m south of the south eastern corner
of the south aisle. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is medieval in origin
with later additions. The monument includes the base, of three steps and the
socket stone, and the shaft, all of limestone.

The base of the cross includes three steps of square plan and constructed of
blocks of stone. The bottom step measures 2.6m square, and together the three
steps stand approximately 0.9m high. Set on the top step is the socket-stone,
a single block measuring 0.9m square at the base with moulded and chamfered
corners rising to a top of octagonal section. Fixed in the socket stone are
the remains of the medieval shaft, 0.25m square in section at the base with
chamfered corners rising in tapering octagonal section to a height of 0.3m. On
the top of this section of shaft is an integral rounded tenon on which the
upper part of the shaft would have been fixed. The upper part of the shaft and
the cross-head are no longer in place.

The gravestones which lie immediately to the north and south 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 remains of the churchyard cross in St Milburga's churchyard represent a
good example of a medieval standing cross with a stepped base. Situated to the
south of the south aisle it is believed to stand at or near its original
position. Limited disturbance in the area immediately around the cross
indicates archaeological deposits relating to its construction and use in this
location will survive largely intact.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Salzman, LF (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Warwickshire: Volume III, (1945), 192
Other
WA1513, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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