Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross on west side of Norwich Road, immediately north east of the Water Works

A Scheduled Monument in North Walsham, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.8127 / 52°48'45"N

Longitude: 1.3796 / 1°22'46"E

OS Eastings: 627855.473182

OS Northings: 329254.730814

OS Grid: TG278292

Mapcode National: GBR WFK.MM2

Mapcode Global: WHMSQ.5K7L

Entry Name: Wayside cross on west side of Norwich Road, immediately north east of the Water Works

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1962

Last Amended: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018305

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31140

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: North Walsham

Built-Up Area: North Walsham

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Walsham North St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located on the
west side of Norwich Road and immediately north east of the Water Works. The
cross, which is Listed Grade II, is 14th century in date and includes the
socket stone and lower part of the original shaft.
The socket stone is set on a cement plinth, on a cobbled area at the west edge
of the pavement. The plinth, which is about 50mm high and measures about 0.8m
square at the base, is bevelled. The socket stone measures 0.7m square at the
base and is 0.38m high, rising through chamfered corners with stop angles to
an octagonal section on the surface. The lower part of the original shaft,
which has been broken at a height of 0.45m, is mortised into the socket stone
and bonded with lead. It measures 0.32m square at the base and rises through
chamfered corners to an octagonal section. The full height of the cross in its
present form is 0.88m.
A plaque set into the wall behind the cross is inscribed with the words:
`Stump Cross. By tradition dates from and marks the site of a battle in the
Peasants Revolt 1381'. The cross does not stand on the site of the
battlefield, but it is situated at the end of a footpath which leads to
it. It is considered more likely to represent a wayside cross.
The cobbled surface, the surface of the pavement and the wall to the west
where they fall within the area of protection are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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 immediately north east of the Water Works is a good example
of a medieval standing cross with a square to octagonal socket stone and a
square to octagonal shaft. Situated on the side of the road, and at the end of
a footpath which leads to a battlefield, it is believed to stand in or near to
its original position. The cross has not been significantly restored but has
continued in use as a public monument and amenity from medieval times until
the present day.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 328

Source: Historic England

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