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Cross in St Giles' churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Colby, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.8318 / 52°49'54"N

Longitude: 1.2944 / 1°17'39"E

OS Eastings: 622015.406248

OS Northings: 331114.359583

OS Grid: TG220311

Mapcode National: GBR VCX.J2L

Mapcode Global: WHMSN.V2KX

Entry Name: Cross in St Giles' churchyard

Scheduled Date: 24 July 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018300

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31135

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Colby

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Banningham, Colby, Felmingham, Skeyton, Suffield and Tuttington

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located within the
churchyard of St Giles' Church, approximately 1m to the west of the south
porch and 1.5m to the south of the tower. The cross, which is Listed Grade II,
is medieval and later in date and includes the pedestal base, socket stone and
the lower part of the original shaft.
The pedestal base is constructed of bricks and surfaced with mortar. It is
aligned north east-south west by north west-south east at a diagonal to the
church and measures 1.75m square by 0.7m high. A stone plaque is set into the
south west face of the base and is inscribed with the words: `This remnant of
the ancient churchyard cross was restored AD 1900. In memoriam R.H.J. Gurney'.
The socket stone has been set into the centre of the base. It measures 0.72m
square and 0.34m in height, rising through chamfered corners to an octagon on
the surface. The lower part of the shaft is mortised diagonally into the
socket stone and bonded with cement. It measures 0.3m east-west by 0.22m
north-south at the base and is 0.78m high, rising through chamfered corners to
an eroded octagonal section. The full height of the cross in its present form
is 1.88m.

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 Giles' is a good example of a medieval standing
cross with a rectangular socket stone and square to octagonal shaft. Located
immediately to the west of the south porch it is believed to stand in or near
to its original position. Parts of the cross have 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), 335

Source: Historic England

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