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Ralegh's Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Clatworthy, Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.101 / 51°6'3"N

Longitude: -3.3741 / 3°22'26"W

OS Eastings: 303885.673649

OS Northings: 134414.957983

OS Grid: ST038344

Mapcode National: GBR LN.BYWY

Mapcode Global: VH6H1.GLMC

Entry Name: Ralegh's Cross

Scheduled Date: 24 July 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020722

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35315

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Clatworthy

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Details

The monument includes the remains of Ralegh's Cross, a medieval cross
which is located in the grounds of the Ralegh's Cross Hotel and which
marks the course of the parish boundary between Nettlecombe and Clatworthy
in the Brendon Hills.
The remains of the original cross structure include a Red Sandstone base
approximately 0.95 sq m and 0.3m high into which is set the remaining
stump of a square shaft 0.7m in height. The cross is believed to have been
erected during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307) to mark the boundary of
the manor, which belonged to the Raleghs of Nettlecombe.
The cross is Listed Grade II*.
All modern fencing and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, where
they fall within the cross's 1m protective margin, although the ground
beneath 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

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.

Despite being incomplete and not in its original position, having been
re-sited approximately 50m south of its former setting in around 1800,
Ralegh's Cross represents a manorial boundary cross, one of only a few to
survive. It continues to mark an important road junction and parish
boundary along the route of the ridgeway which extends through the Brendon
Hills.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Pooley, C, Old Stone Crosses of Somerset, (1877), 62

Source: Historic England

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