Ancient Monuments

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Village cross, Cross Street

A Scheduled Monument in Moretonhampstead, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6607 / 50°39'38"N

Longitude: -3.7627 / 3°45'45"W

OS Eastings: 275508.329

OS Northings: 86039.194

OS Grid: SX755860

Mapcode National: GBR QG.KR34

Mapcode Global: FRA 370B.7Y9

Entry Name: Village cross, Cross Street

Scheduled Date: 10 August 1955

Last Amended: 12 March 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020872

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34447

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Moretonhampstead

Built-Up Area: Moretonhampstead

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Moretonhampstead St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a village cross situated in Cross Street,
Moretonhampstead immediately outside the churchyard of St Andrew's Church. The
cross survives as an octagonal pedestal upon which a cross head has been set.
The pedestal measures 0.6m high, 3.2m in diameter and its upper section is
denoted by ashlared granite blocks each measuring 1.2m long. Within the area
denoted by the pedestal is a substantial beech tree and a cross head. The
cross head measures 0.7m wide by 0.62m high and each face is chamfered. The
cross is set upon the pedestal in an upside down position and a circular hole
at the top of the stone measuring 0.17m in diameter and 0.1m deep represents a
socket into which the now lost shaft would have been inserted. In the centre
of the western face of the cross is a T-shaped recess measuring 0.26m wide by
0.28m high and 0.03m deep. On the eastern face there is a 0.23m high by 0.1m
wide and 0.03m deep rectangular recess.

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.

Despite historic damage, the village cross in Cross Street,
Moretonhampstead survives comparatively well and stands in close proximity
to a large number of broadly contemporary buildings. The cross forms an
important part of a significant historic settlement.

Source: Historic England


Websites, accessed from

Source: Historic England

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