Some years ago, the stump of what appeared to be a churchyard cross was uncovered from its shroud of ivy. The stump which is approximately 1.3m high was thought to have been broken by Cromwell's forces in the 17th century. Many churchyard crosses were damaged in a similar manner during the Commonwealth period. Research related to the 1624 parish map has revealed that it is far more likely to have been a medieval standing cross. Sited at the crossroads of what is now the Rookery path, Well Street and Church Street, this cross pre-dated our present church and most likely provided a marker for travellers, been the site of a village market for which there is documentary evidence, as a focus for public proclamations and a meeting point for Langham villagers to gather round whilst listening to a visiting preacher more than a millennium ago. When the Manor was built in the mid 17th century, roads were diverted to make way for its garden and the redundant cross was relocated to the eastern end of the churchyard. The stump, most likely of Barnack stone, now looks rather insignificant, it is the stone base into which the stump is jointed that provides more interest. This has a series of carved arcades which have helped date the cross to not later than the 11th century. This has turned out to be a significant find and one which, with the help of English Heritage, has just received grade II listed status from the Secretary of State, this hopefully will protect our cross for another millennium.
Langham Village History Group ~ © 1996 - 2021
Village or Preaching Cross
Langham Village History Group