Ancient Monuments

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Village cross 270m north west of St Andrew's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Northwold, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.5458 / 52°32'44"N

Longitude: 0.5789 / 0°34'44"E

OS Eastings: 574967.718806

OS Northings: 297335.573957

OS Grid: TL749973

Mapcode National: GBR P7T.96J

Mapcode Global: VHJF7.Z8DR

Entry Name: Village cross 270m north west of St Andrew's Church

Scheduled Date: 15 September 1936

Last Amended: 10 June 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018310

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31113

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Northwold

Built-Up Area: Northwold

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Northwold St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a standing stone cross, located on the south side of
West End road at a point where the north west-south east road curves sharply
to the south of Inghams Lane. The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, is
principally 14th century in date with some later additions. It includes the
base, the stone plinth, the socket stone, the shaft, the capital and the head.

The pedestal base is rectangular in plan. It has a central core constructed of
bricks rendered with mortar and measuring 1.06m high and 1.46m north-south by
1.3m east-west. Immediately above this is a plinth, 0.2m high and 1.33m
square, made up of four stones with a roll moulded overhanging lip. The socket
stone rests on this plinth; it is 0.6m in height and measures 0.80m square at
the base, rising through chamfered corners with stop angles to an octagon on
the upper surface. Sitting on the socket stone is the shaft, 0.37m square in
section with moulded corners. It tapers upwards to a height of approximately
4m. A moulded octagonal capital joins the shaft to the head which takes the
form of a Greek crucifix. The pedestal base and the head are modern additions.
The full height of the cross is approximately 6.5m.

The surface of the road and drive, where they fall within the protective
margin around the monument, 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 village cross 270m north west of St Andrew's Church is a good example of a
medieval standing cross with a square to octagonal socket and a moulded shaft.
Situated on the south edge of the road towards the north west end of the
village it is believed to stand on or near to its original position. While
only the stone plinth, the socket stone and the shaft have survived from
medieval times the subsequent restoration of the base and the head illustrates
the continued function of the cross as a public monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 319

Source: Historic England

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