Ancient Monuments

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Village cross 160m south of St Margaret's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Drayton, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.676 / 52°40'33"N

Longitude: 1.2239 / 1°13'26"E

OS Eastings: 618047.2176

OS Northings: 313582.631362

OS Grid: TG180135

Mapcode National: GBR VFR.B7S

Mapcode Global: WHLS2.SZ0V

Entry Name: Village cross 160m south of St Margaret's Church

Scheduled Date: 4 December 1924

Last Amended: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018302

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31137

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Drayton

Built-Up Area: Taverham

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Drayton St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross, located on the
village green, 160m south of the parish church of St Margaret's. The cross,
which is Listed Grade II, is principally 14th century in date with some later
additions. It includes the two stepped base, socket stone and the remains of
the shaft.

The steps are square in plan and are orientated north east-south west by north
west-south east. The base step measures 1.78m square by 0.1m high. The top
step measures 1.29m square by 0.15m in height. The socket stone, which is
mortared to the top step is 0.48m in height and measures 0.56m square at the
base, rising through worn chamfered corners with stop angles to a roughly
octagonal section on the surface. The shaft, which is mortised diagonally into
the socket stone and bonded with lead, is square in section and is decorated
with roll and fillet moulding. It measures 0.34m square by 1.92m high and has
been broken and remortared at a height of 0.54m. The full height of the cross
in its present form is approximately 2.65m.

Bronze plaques attached to the north west and south east faces of the socket
stone are each inscribed with the words: `You who pray for the souls of
William Beaumont and Joanna his wife saying a Paternoster and an Ave Maria
will earn a number of days pardon'. This is thought to have been a translation
of a French inscription carved into the shaft which, although no longer
visible, was recorded in 1735 by Tom Martin and Blomefield in 1739. The bronze
plaques are thought to have been added when the cross was restored by Canon
Hinds-Howell in 1873. There were originally two further plaques on the north
east and south west sides but now only the nails and lead which held them up

The pathway to the north west of the cross where it falls within the
monument's protective margin is excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath it 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 at Drayton is a good example of a medieval standing cross
with a square to octagonal socket stone and a roll and fillet decorated shaft.
Situated on the village green, at a location where several roads cross, it is
believed to stand in or near to its original position. 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), 306-8

Source: Historic England

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