Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross at the junction of Boundary Road and Drayton High Road

A Scheduled Monument in Hellesdon, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.6522 / 52°39'7"N

Longitude: 1.2618 / 1°15'42"E

OS Eastings: 620724.846461

OS Northings: 311047.214529

OS Grid: TG207110

Mapcode National: GBR W40.F3

Mapcode Global: WHMTF.CL2L

Entry Name: Wayside cross at the junction of Boundary Road and Drayton High Road

Scheduled Date: 10 September 1962

Last Amended: 24 July 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018303

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31138

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Hellesdon

Built-Up Area: Norwich

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Hellesdon St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes a standing stone cross located at the junction of
Drayton High Road and Boundary Road, close to the boundary which separates the
Hellesdon parish from the City of Norwich. The cross dates principally to the
medieval period with some later additions. It includes the base plinth, the
socket stone, the shaft, the capital and the iron head.
The socket stone is set on a plinth, which is constructed of dressed flint
with ashlar corner stones. It measures 0.68m square by 0.49m high. The socket
stone is also 0.68m square and 0.4m in height, rising through chamfered
corners with stop angles to an octagonal section on the surface. Attached to
the south face of the socket stone is a circular bronze plaque inscribed with
the words: `This boundary cross was erected in the 15th century to mark the
spot at which the King's Way crossed the Norwich City Boundary'. The shaft,
which is mortised into the socket stone, measures 0.3m square at the base and
rises through chamfered corners to a tapering octagonal section. The lower
part of the shaft, 1.44m in height is original. The upper part, which extends
for a further 0.68m, and the capital above it are modern additions and are
constructed from a single block of stone. The capital is 0.4m high and
supports the modern iron head which measures about 0.5m high and 0.2m wide and
faces east and west. The full height of the cross in its present form is
approximately 4m.
The pavement, 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 wayside cross at the junction of Boundary Road and Drayton High Road
is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a square to octagonal
socket stone and a square to octagonal shaft. Situated to the north of the
parish boundary separating Hellesdon from Norwich and less than 800m to the
north east of the parish church of St Mary's where another cross, which is the
subject of a separate scheduling, stands in the churchyard, 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), 321-322

Source: Historic England

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