Ancient Monuments

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Standing cross on the green, 70m west of St Lawrence's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Castle Rising, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.7956 / 52°47'44"N

Longitude: 0.4687 / 0°28'7"E

OS Eastings: 566542.125523

OS Northings: 324858.070883

OS Grid: TF665248

Mapcode National: GBR P4K.R9L

Mapcode Global: WHKQ0.5ZFQ

Entry Name: Standing cross on the green, 70m west of St Lawrence's Church

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 3 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010570

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21333

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Castle Rising

Built-Up Area: Castle Rising

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Castle Rising St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes a medieval stone cross situated on the village green at
Castle Rising, opposite the west end of the parish church. A map of 1588
shows it in the same position, demonstrating that it has stood here since at
least the 16th century, and probably since its construction. The cross,
which is also Listed Grade II*, is thought to date from the 15th century and
is built of Barnack stone in three stages, raised upon a polygonal flight of
five steps measuring c.6m across at the base. The lowest stage is a tall
octagonal plinth with polygonal clasping shafts at the angles. Above this is
a low, square base upon which stands a square pedestal, c.1.6m high, with
moulded attached shafts at the angles. This supports the third stage which is
a slender, tapering shaft, octagonal in section, with architectural moulding
at the base and the cross at the head. The overall height is c.7m.

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 cross on Castle Rising green survives very well and is known to have stood
on the same site since at least the early post-medieval period. The unusual
form of the cross and its association with the late 12th century church and
castle of Castle Rising give it additional interest and importance.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, B, 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Archaeology, , Vol. 25, (1935), 304
Corbishley, M, AM107, (1983)
NMR TF 62 SE2,

Source: Historic England

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