Ancient Monuments

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Cockthorpe village cross, 200m east of All Saints' Church

A Scheduled Monument in Binham, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.9403 / 52°56'24"N

Longitude: 0.9501 / 0°57'0"E

OS Eastings: 598336.394

OS Northings: 342171.2815

OS Grid: TF983421

Mapcode National: GBR S7G.M1J

Mapcode Global: WHLQS.KCN8

Entry Name: Cockthorpe village cross, 200m east of All Saints' Church

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013572

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21381

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Binham

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Stiffkey St John and St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes the base of a medieval standing stone cross, located in
the north west angle of the crossing of the road which runs east-west through
the village and a track, parts of which now survive only as a footpath and
right of way, between Binham village and priory to the south and Cockthorpe
Common and Stiffkey Channel to the north. The base of the cross comprises a
socket stone with a central mortise containing the foot of the cross shaft set
in lead. The socket stone is partly sunken into the ground surface, above
which it stands to a height of 0.4m. It measures 0.75m square in section at
the bottom, with chamfered angles above, so that the top surface is octagonal.
The bottom of the shaft, which has been broken off level with the surface of
the base, measures 0.33m square in section.
An earthfast stay for a service pole adjoining the monument, and the surface
of the track which impinges on the east side are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features is included.

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.

Cockthorpe village cross is a good example of a medieval standing cross set at
a road crossing. It is believed to stand on or very close to its original
position, and archaeological deposits relating to its construction and use are
likely to survive in the area beneath and immediately around it, despite some
limited modern disturbance. It has additional interest because of the
historical and geographical association with Binham priory and with another
medieval standing cross in Binham village, 2.25km to the south.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 305

Source: Historic England

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