Ancient Monuments

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Cross 300m north west of Tollbar Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Westwick, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.8018 / 52°48'6"N

Longitude: 1.3764 / 1°22'35"E

OS Eastings: 627697.652

OS Northings: 328034.4805

OS Grid: TG276280

Mapcode National: GBR WFR.6V1

Mapcode Global: WHMSQ.3TQZ

Entry Name: Cross 300m north west of Tollbar Cottages

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1962

Last Amended: 16 November 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016416

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32091

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Westwick

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Walsham North St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes a medieval standing stone cross located 300m north west
of Tollbar Cottages and at the junction of three parish boundaries; North
Walsham, Westwick and Worstead.
The cross includes the remains of a shaft. It is square in plan with
chamfered corners, measuring 0.25m square at the base, and tapering upwards to
a diameter of 0.18m on the surface. A mortise hole in the top of the shaft
measures 40mm across. The full height of the cross in its present form is
This cross together with one 300m to the north east (the subject of a separate
scheduling) are thought to relate to the battle at which Henry le Despencer,
Bishop of Norwich, crushed the 1381 Peasant's Revolt lead by Jack Lytester.
It is traditionally believed that one or both crosses were set up after the

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 300m north west of Tollbar Cottages is a good example of a medieval
standing cross. Situated close to the site of the 1381 battle between Henry le
Despencer and the peasants, the cross is believed to stand in or near to its
original position. Its traditional association with the commemoration of the
battle and another standing cross 300m to the north east, gives it additional
interest. The cross has not been significantly restored and has continued in
use as a public monument and amenity from medieval times until the present

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 327-8
FMW report, Miller, I, SAM 197 c, (1989)

Source: Historic England

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