Ancient Monuments

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Village cross, 90m north east of St James's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Hockwold cum Wilton, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.4631 / 52°27'47"N

Longitude: 0.5528 / 0°33'9"E

OS Eastings: 573521.438475

OS Northings: 288082.301308

OS Grid: TL735880

Mapcode National: GBR P8R.GLH

Mapcode Global: VHJFM.JCL4

Entry Name: Village cross, 90m north east of St James's Church

Scheduled Date: 21 January 1937

Last Amended: 19 March 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018104

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31112

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Hockwold cum Wilton

Built-Up Area: Hockwold cum Wilton

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Hockwold with Wilton

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a standing stone cross, located on a triangular green at
the north end of Church Lane and about 90m to the north east of St James's
Church. The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, is principally 14th century
in date with some later additions. It includes the pedestal base, the plinth,
the socket stone, the shaft and the ornamental capital.

The pedestal base is octagonal in plan. The lower part is constructed of 16
courses of bricks and measures 1.03m high and 1.4m in diameter. Immediately
above this is an octagonal stone plinth, made up of two courses of sandstone
blocks; the upper of which has a moulded overhanging lip. This plinth is 0.46m
high with a maximum diameter of 1.72m. A further course of stone above this is
square in plan and measures 0.76m square and 0.14m high. The socket stone
rests on this stone course; it measures 0.66m square at the base and rises
through stop angles to octagonal on the upper surface. It has a height of
0.38m. The shaft, which is 0.26m square at the base, is set diagonally into
the top of the socket stone. It is quatrefoil in section and tapers upwards to
a height of approximately 4m. At the top of the shaft is an ornamental
capital. The full height of the cross in its present form is approximately

The iron railings encircling the monument and the surface of the pavement to
the north are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them
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.

The village cross 90m north east of St James's Church is a good example of a
medieval standing cross with an octagonal base, and a square to octagonal
socket stone. Situated on a triangle of land at the north end of Church Lane,
the road which leads to St James's Church, it is believed to stand in or near
to its original position. Some disturbance to the cross took place in 1985
when it was hit by a car, but there was minimal damage to the earlier parts of
the cross and unobtrusive repairs to the base have ensured that it remains in
use as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 330
Rose, E, Wilton Cross, Hockwold cum Wilton, (1986)

Source: Historic England

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