Ancient Monuments

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Sharrington village cross

A Scheduled Monument in Brinton, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.8891 / 52°53'20"N

Longitude: 1.018 / 1°1'4"E

OS Eastings: 603130.953183

OS Northings: 336675.29927

OS Grid: TG031366

Mapcode National: GBR T9G.S6Y

Mapcode Global: WHLR0.LMYZ

Entry Name: Sharrington village cross

Scheduled Date: 26 February 1957

Last Amended: 21 February 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015253

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21421

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Brinton

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Sharrington All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes a standing stone cross situated c.80m ENE of All Saints
Church, Sharrington, on a small island at the junction of two roads. The
cross, which is Listed Grade II, includes a brick foundation, a socket stone
and the lower section of the shaft, which are both of medieval date, two
upper sections of the shaft which are part of a modern restoration, a capital
which is also modern, and the broken base of the head.

The foundation is c.0.88m square and visible to a height of one brick (0.07m)
above the ground surface. It supports the socket stone which measures 0.85m on
each side and 0.35m in height and is square at the base and octagonal on the
upper surface, with rounded broach stops. In the centre of each face there is
a hole c.0.04m in diameter, perhaps for the attachment of plaques. The shaft
is c.1.65m in overall height and tapers slightly. The original medieval basal
section, 0.66m in height, is morticed into the upper surface of the socket
stone, the joint being run with lead. It is square at the foot, with the
remains of broach stops, and was originally octagonal above, although the
angles are now rounded by weathering. The modern part of the shaft is in three
sections and is clearly distinguished from the older base by differences in
weathering and the colour of the stone. The modern capital is also octagonal,
with elaborate moulding, and above this is the base of the head, which matches
the stone of the medieval base and is circular with roll moulding. The upper
surface is uneven where the cross or finial has been broken off.

Sharrington is on or close to the route from east Norfolk to Binham Abbey and
the medieval shrine at Walsingham, and it is possible that the cross was
erected as a preaching station for pilgrims.

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.

Sharrington village cross is a good example of a medieval standing cross and
is believed to stand on or very close to its original position. Its situation
on an island reserve at a minor road junction indicates that archaeological
deposits relating to its construction and later use are likely to survive
beneath and immediately around it. The medieval socket stone and part of the
shaft and the head have survived into modern times, and the restoration of the
shaft and capital demonstrate its continued function as a public monument and

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 324
AM7 NF125, (1956)

Source: Historic England

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