Ancient Monuments

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Cross in All Saints' churchyard, Toftrees

A Scheduled Monument in Dunton, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.8123 / 52°48'44"N

Longitude: 0.815 / 0°48'53"E

OS Eastings: 589813.4105

OS Northings: 327570.094413

OS Grid: TF898275

Mapcode National: GBR R7H.NVW

Mapcode Global: WHKQ5.HK9X

Entry Name: Cross in All Saints' churchyard, Toftrees

Scheduled Date: 29 September 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018314

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31129

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Dunton

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Toftrees All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located within All
Saints' churchyard, approximately 9m to the south east of the east end of the
chancel. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is 15th century in date and
includes the socket stone and the lower part of the shaft with a further
section of shaft lying on the ground alongside.

The socket stone, which is set into the ground, is square to octagonal with
decorative ball flower ornaments at the four corners and moulding around the
top. It measures 0.76m square at the base and is at least 0.3m in height. The
lower part of the shaft is mortised into the socket stone. It is 0.26m square
at the base, rising through chamfered corners with stop angles to a tapering
octagonal section, and is 0.47m high. A mortise hole on the top of the shaft
measures 0.13m in diameter by 70mm in depth. The further section of shaft,
0.74m long, is half buried in the ground immediately to the west of the socket
stone. The full height of the standing portion of the cross in its present
form is 1.23m.

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 All Saints' Church is a good example of a medieval
standing cross with a square to octagonal socket stone and a square to
octagonal shaft. Located to the south east of the chancel and about 2m to the
west of the east gate and main entrance to the church it is believed to stand
at or near to its original position. The cross shows little evidence of
restoration but has continued in use as a public monument and amenity from
medieval times to the present day.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 326

Source: Historic England

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