Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Burnham Overy village cross, 90m south west of St Clement's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Burnham Overy, Norfolk

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 52.9516 / 52°57'5"N

Longitude: 0.7408 / 0°44'26"E

OS Eastings: 584222.651697

OS Northings: 342872.589254

OS Grid: TF842428

Mapcode National: GBR R5N.VH5

Mapcode Global: WHKPK.B2ZK

Entry Name: Burnham Overy village cross, 90m south west of St Clement's Church

Scheduled Date: 10 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013573

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21382

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Burnham Overy

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Burnham Overy St Clement

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes Burnham Overy village cross, a Grade II Listed standing
stone cross located on a small green at the centre of the junction of Mill
Road and the B1155 to Burnham Market. The cross is medieval in date and
constructed of limestone in two parts, a socket stone and a shaft, raised upon
a tall base built of medieval or early post-medieval brick covered in a cement
rendering. This base measures 0.95m in height and c.1m square at the foot,
tapering inward slightly in two equal stages. The socket stone which forms the
lower part of the cross is 0.35m in height and 0.67m square at the bottom with
chamfered stops above. On each face, between the stops, is a small carved
shield. The tapering shaft set into it is octagonal in section and broken at a
height of 0.6m; the junction between the two is concealed by a modern cement
rendering. A direction post was at one time mounted upon the shaft, but this
has now been removed. The overall height of the monument above ground level is
now c.1.9m.
The post of a modern road sign set 1m from the eastern side of the base of the
monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is

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.

Burnham Overy village cross is a good example of a medieval standing cross.
Situated at the road junction in the heart of the village, it is believed to
occupy its original position. Archaeological deposits relating to its
construction and use are likely to survive intact in the ground immediately
around and beneath it, despite limited disturbance caused by public utilities
in the area of green adjoining the monument. The cross has undergone little
alteration in modern times, and has continued in use as a public monument from
the medieval period to the present day.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 304

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.