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Wayside cross 70m north of St Michael's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Gussage St. Michael, Dorset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.9021 / 50°54'7"N

Longitude: -2.0216 / 2°1'17"W

OS Eastings: 398573.540502

OS Northings: 111403.126002

OS Grid: ST985114

Mapcode National: GBR 30D.CPT

Mapcode Global: FRA 66NQ.G6L

Entry Name: Wayside cross 70m north of St Michael's Church

Scheduled Date: 24 July 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020613

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33571

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Gussage St. Michael

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Gussage St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument includes the remains of a medieval wayside cross, cut into
the bank of the road verge, near a road junction, 70m north of
St Michael's Church. The cross is of probable 15th century date, and
appears to be in its original position, probably on the former village
green. It has a socket stone, 0.68 sq m in area and 0.26m high, with the
stump of a stone shaft, 0.32 sq m in area. It is Listed Grade II. Pope,
visiting the site before 1906, noted that the socket stone had bold
chamfering at its upper edge although this is no longer visible.
The road surface, the telegraph pole and the wire stay, where these fall
within the monument's 1m protective margin, are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features 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

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the
medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to
serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith
amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside
crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and
otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes
linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious
function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners
and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on
pilgrimages.
Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west
England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type
of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively
few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to
remote moorland locations.
Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross,
in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an
unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and
decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces
of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or
incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was
sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear
decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the
`Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both
faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the
North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed
base or show no evidence for a separate base at all.
Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval
religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval
routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth-
fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from
their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

The wayside cross 70m north of St Michael's Church, is relatively well-
preserved and, surviving in its original location, remains an important
example of its class.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Pope, A, The Old Stone Crosses of Dorset, (1926), 51-52

Source: Historic England

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