Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross 650m south west of Park Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Aylmerton, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.9023 / 52°54'8"N

Longitude: 1.2413 / 1°14'28"E

OS Eastings: 618086.686813

OS Northings: 338794.158754

OS Grid: TG180387

Mapcode National: GBR VC2.2MY

Mapcode Global: WHMS8.19CV

Entry Name: Wayside cross 650m south west of Park Farm

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018299

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31134

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Aylmerton

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Gresham

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes a standing stone cross located at the centre of a
crossroads and on the boundary between the parishes of Aylmerton and Gresham.
The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, dates principally to the medieval period
with some later additions. It includes the single step, the two part socket
stone, the shaft, the capital and the modern head.
The step at the base of the cross is square in plan and measures 1.8m in width
by 0.2m high. The lower part of the socket stone rests on the step; it
measures 0.88m square and 0.5m high. A rectangular recess, 0.2m high by 0.46m
wide by 60mm deep, cut into the base of the southern face of the socket stone
is thought to have been carved to hold offerings. Immediately above this is
the upper part of the socket stone, measuring 0.62m square at the base and
0.69m in height, which is carved with a scalloped decoration towards the top.
Above this it is chamfered to a smaller square, measuring 0.53m across, and
rising upwards through well defined chamfered corners to an octagon with
crenellated decoration on the surface. The shaft, which is mortared to the
socket stone, was originally octagonal in section but has become weathered
over the years. It measures 0.34m in diameter by about 2.5m in height. The
capital is octagonal at the base and supports elaborate ogee-headed gables
facing north, east, south and west, which are separated by smaller round
headed niches. The modern head takes the form of a crucifix with foliate
decoration at the terminals. The full height of the cross is approximately

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 650m south west of Park Farm is a good example of a medieval
standing cross with a square stepped base, a highly decorative square to
octagonal socket stone, an octagonal shaft and a decorated capital. Situated
in the centre of a crossroads, on the parish boundary between Aylmerton and
Gresham, it is believed to stand in or near to its original position. The
cross is thought to be located on a pilgrimage route to Walsingham. Most of
the cross has survived from medieval times and subsequent restoration has
resulted in its continued function as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 299-300

Source: Historic England

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