Ancient Monuments

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Knightlow Cross and mound

A Scheduled Monument in Stretton-on-Dunsmore, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.3599 / 52°21'35"N

Longitude: -1.407 / 1°24'25"W

OS Eastings: 440476.442146

OS Northings: 273701.791794

OS Grid: SP404737

Mapcode National: GBR 6MX.52B

Mapcode Global: VHBX6.KYH9

Entry Name: Knightlow Cross and mound

Scheduled Date: 17 February 1927

Last Amended: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020302

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33136

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Stretton-on-Dunsmore

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Ryton-on-Dunsmore St Leonard

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument includes Knightlow Cross, located on Knightlow Hill, close to the
eastern edge of Ryton-on-Dunsmore parish. It is thought to represent the
remains of a boundary cross. The cross, and the mound on which it stands,
which is also included in the scheduling, are medieval in date. It has been
suggested that the mound may have originated prior to the construction of
the cross, perhaps as a burial tumulus which was later adapted as a base for
the cross.

Situated on a ridge overlooking the Avon valley, the monument takes the form
of a subcircular mound measuring 11m east-west by 10m and up to 1.25m in
height. Standing approximately at the centre of the mound is a roughly square
sandstone socket-stone measuring 0.78m by 0.76m by 0.42m high. The socket
measures 0.38m by 0.35m by 0.35m deep and has a slightly rounded base. The
west side of the socket-stone is marked by a deep sloping groove. Formerly
fixed in the socket would have been the shaft which supported the cross-head;
the shaft is thought to have been destroyed in the 16th century.

A ceremony is held here each November 11th for receiving `wroth silver' a
practice which can be traced back to a charter dating from the reign of King

The cross is Listed Grade II.

All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath
them 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.

Knightlow Cross and the mound on which it stands survive well as standing,
earthwork and buried remains. It is a good example of a medieval boundary
cross and is rare in that it is associated with a well-documented tradition,
still continuing, which dates back to medieval times. In addition the mound
will preserve valuable evidence of land-use prior to its construction.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gover, J E B et al, The Place-Names of Warwickshire, (1936)
Salzman, LF (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Warwickshire: Volume VI, (1951)
WA4273, (1999)
WA4274, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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