Ancient Monuments

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Cross in St Margaret's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Clenchwarton, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.756 / 52°45'21"N

Longitude: 0.3536 / 0°21'12"E

OS Eastings: 558926.736828

OS Northings: 320196.762282

OS Grid: TF589201

Mapcode National: GBR N3P.66N

Mapcode Global: WHJP0.DZLK

Entry Name: Cross in St Margaret's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 24 July 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018106

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31121

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Clenchwarton

Built-Up Area: Clenchwarton

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Clenchwarton

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located within
St Margaret's churchyard, approximately 8m to the south west of the south
porch of the church. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is 14th century
in date and includes the socket stone and the lower part of the original

The socket stone measures 0.65m square at the base and rises through chamfered
corners with stop angles to an octagonal section on the surface. It is 0.38m
high. The base of the shaft is mortised into the socket stone and bonded with
cement. It is 0.24m square at the base, rising through chamfered corners to a
tapering octagonal section, and is 0.77m high. At a height of 0.4m a cut, of
unknown function, has been made around the diameter of the shaft. It measures
60mm wide and 30mm deep. The full height of the cross in its present form is

The surface of the gravel pathway surrounding the monument is excluded from
the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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 churchyard cross at St Margaret's is a good example of a medieval
standing cross with a square to octagonal socket stone and a square to
octagonal shaft. Located to the south west of the south porch of the church it
is believed to stand on or near to its original position. The cross shows
little evidence of restoration and has continued in use as a public monument
and amenity from medieval times to the present day.

Source: Historic England

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