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Churchyard cross in St John the Baptist's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Feckenham, Worcestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.2528 / 52°15'10"N

Longitude: -1.9878 / 1°59'16"W

OS Eastings: 400929.514

OS Northings: 261629.470001

OS Grid: SP009616

Mapcode National: GBR 2H0.N8J

Mapcode Global: VHB00.HMHT

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St John the Baptist's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 8 July 1997

Last Amended: 8 September 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021171

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29866

County: Worcestershire

Civil Parish: Feckenham

Built-Up Area: Feckenham

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Feckenham St John Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Worcester

Details

The monument includes a standing stone cross located approximately 20m to
the south east of the south porch of St John the Baptist's Church. The
cross is of stepped form, and includes the base of four steps and a socket
stone, a further addition to the socket stone and a modern head. It is
Listed Grade II.

The steps are square in plan and are constructed of pink sandstone blocks,
similar to those used in the construction of the church. The bottom step
measures 3.2 sq m and 0.16m high on the east side. The middle two steps
measure 2.67 sq m by 0.2m high and 2.09 sq m by 0.19m high. The top step
measures 1.5 sq m and 0.2m high. The socket stone rests on the top step.
It is 0.8 sq m at the base and bevels upwards to a smaller square, 0.69 sq
m, which in turn rises through chamfered corners to an irregular octagon.
The full height of the socket stone is 0.69m. Positioned on top of the
socket stone is a simple stone block, 0.43 sq m by 0.25m high, which is
thought to be a modern addition. Mortared to this stone is a modern
sandstone cross-head which measures 0.56m from arm to arm and rises to a
height of 0.97m. The full height of the monument is 2.65m.

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.

The churchyard cross at St John the Baptist's is a good example of a
medieval standing cross with a rectangular stepped base and a square to
octagonal socket stone. It occupies a prominent position to the south east
of the south porch and is believed to stand in or near its original
position. Whilst most of the cross has survived from medieval times,
subsequent restoration has resulted in its continued function as a public
monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Doubleday, AH, Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Worcester, (1913), 118
Other
Redditch DC 19-59 DOE, (1974)

Source: Historic England

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