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Churchyard cross in St Leonard's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Beoley, Worcestershire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.3247 / 52°19'29"N

Longitude: -1.9058 / 1°54'20"W

OS Eastings: 406516.893499

OS Northings: 269630.081501

OS Grid: SP065696

Mapcode National: GBR 3HN.BYT

Mapcode Global: VH9ZN.XTBQ

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Leonard's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 8 July 1997

Last Amended: 8 September 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021172

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29865

County: Worcestershire

Civil Parish: Beoley

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Worcestershire

Church of England Parish: Redditch Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Worcester

Details

The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located
approximately 7m to the south of the south porch of St Leonard's Church.
The cross is of stepped form and is medieval in date. It includes the
base of three steps and a socket stone and the remains of the shaft. The
cross is Listed Grade II.

The steps are rectangular in plan and are constructed of pink sandstone
blocks, similar to those used in the construction of the church. The
socket stone rests on the top step and is square in plan at the base, and
rises through chamfered corners to an octagonal surface, surrounded by a
moulded ridge. The stone measures 0.8m sq m and 0.6m high. A quatrefoil,
set within a square formed by eight small triangular recesses, has been
carved into each of the four vertical faces of the socket stone. The
shaft measures 0.3m square at the base, and rises through a beaded rim to
a tapering circular section. The shaft has been irregularly broken off at
a height of 0.38m. A deep circular hole centrally placed in the top of the
shaft may have supported a `dowel' for attaching the upper part of the
shaft. The overall height of the monument is 1.68m.

The pathway to the north east of the cross where it lies within the
monument's protective margin is excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath it 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.

The remains of the churchyard cross at St Leonard's represent a good
example of a medieval standing cross with a rectangular stepped base, a
square to octagonal socket stone and shaft. It occupies a prominent
position to the south of the church porch and is believed to stand in or
near its original position. The cross has not been significantly restored
and has continued in use as a public monument and amenity from medieval
times until the present day.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Listing, 2A.60 DOE, (1986)
Site visit, drawn and described., Bond, CJ, Beoley, Worcestershire: Churchyard cross, (1969)
Sites and monument record sheet, Churchyard cross, Beoley,

Source: Historic England

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