Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross in St Peter's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Raunds, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.3466 / 52°20'47"N

Longitude: -0.5328 / 0°31'58"W

OS Eastings: 500039.094822

OS Northings: 273067.137822

OS Grid: TL000730

Mapcode National: GBR FZC.XSZ

Mapcode Global: VHFP7.Q85Z

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Peter's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1949

Last Amended: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020176

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29717

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Raunds

Built-Up Area: Raunds

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Raunds St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located within the
churchyard of St Peter's Church, Raunds, approximately 30m south east of the
south porch. The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, is believed to be of
medieval origin, its architectural style suggesting a late 14th or 15th
century date.
The base of the cross is of mortared block construction and includes a raised
ironstone plinth approximately 3.2m square, and two limestone ashlar steps.
Both steps have deep risers and heavy mouldings. The riser of the lower step
is plain, but the riser of the upper step, which is some 1.66m square, has
quatrefoil friezes on all four faces. The quatrefoils enclose crosses of
various designs. This step appears to have been reduced at some stage with the
removal of a half panel of each frieze. The socket stone is approximately
0.75m square at its base, and the corners of the upper surface are chamfered
to form an octagon. The remains of a square shaft approximately 1.12m high are
morticed into the socket stone. The shaft has pilaster bands at the corners
and symbols of the four Evangelists on the sides.
The full height of the cross is approximately 3.04m.

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 Peter's churchyard represent a good
example of a medieval standing cross with a stepped base and decorated shaft
located in or near its original position. Limited activity in the area
immediately surrounding the cross indicates that archaeological deposits
relating to the monument's construction and use in this location are likely to
survive intact as buried features. Most of the cross has survived from
medieval times and continues to function as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England

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