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Standing Cross, 8m South-East of St John the Baptist Church

A Grade II* Listed Building in Oake, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.0313 / 51°1'52"N

Longitude: -3.1992 / 3°11'57"W

OS Eastings: 316003

OS Northings: 126456

OS Grid: ST160264

Mapcode National: GBR LX.H7BK

Mapcode Global: FRA 465D.CFH

Plus Code: 9C3R2RJ2+G8

Entry Name: Standing Cross, 8m South-East of St John the Baptist Church

Listing Date: 25 February 1955

Last Amended: 6 September 2016

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1307462

English Heritage Legacy ID: 271023

Location: Oake, Somerset West and Taunton, Somerset, TA4

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Oake

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Church of England Parish: Heathfield with Cotford St Luke

Church of England Diocese: Bath and Wells

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Standing cross of medieval date; restored c1869.


Standing cross of medieval date; restored c1869.

MATERIALS and PLAN: carved from sandstone and Hamstone, and octagonal on plan.

DESCRIPTION: the cross comprises an octagonal base of two steps, a square socket stone, and a square shaft; the head is missing. The corners of the socket stone are cut into square angle shafts with caps and fillet moulding. The tapering shaft has bevelled corners and fillet mouldings at the base. It stands to a height of 1.9m where it is broken off. The east face is enriched with a crocketted niche containing a headless male figure in flowing robes standing on an eroded angel corbel. The angel is said to be holding a shield with a wreath below. It was described in the late C19 (Pooley, 1877), but the carvings are now (2016) weathered.


Standing crosses, usually of stone, are free-standing upright structures that were mostly erected during the medieval period. They varied considerably in elaboration, and stood in a variety of locations, to serve a range of functions. Those in churchyards acted as stations for outdoor processions, particularly during Palm Sunday ceremonies. The great majority of standing crosses that survive lost their cross-heads to religious extremists during the C16 and C17. The standing cross in St John the Baptist’s churchyard was erected during the medieval period, and is considered to date from either the C13, when the church was originally built, or the C15. The shaft has a relief carving of a male figure which is considered to possibly be either a Prior of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, former patrons of the church, or a representation of St John the Baptist. The cross was restored in the mid-C19, probably by Devon architect Edward Ashworth, who carried out a major restoration of the church at that time.

Reasons for Listing

The medieval standing cross in the churchyard of St John the Baptist Church is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
*Architectural interest: although it is missing its head and has suffered weathering, the cross displays careful detailing in its figurative carvings;
*Historic interest: since it is considered to be in its original position, it illustrates well how some crosses served as foci for religious practices within churchyards in the medieval period;
* Group value: it forms a group with the Church of St John the Baptist, the Spurway Memorial and Manor Farmhouse, which are all Grade II listed.

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