Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross on Yarmouth Road 300m south east of Church Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Hemsby, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.6903 / 52°41'25"N

Longitude: 1.6939 / 1°41'38"E

OS Eastings: 649726.631379

OS Northings: 316693.032656

OS Grid: TG497166

Mapcode National: GBR YPG.92X

Mapcode Global: WHNVK.ZMSX

Entry Name: Wayside cross on Yarmouth Road 300m south east of Church Farm

Scheduled Date: 27 September 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018318

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31133

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Hemsby

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Hemsby St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross located on the
east side of the Yarmouth Road to the south of the town of Hemsby and about
50m to the east of the redundant railway line. The cross, which is Listed
Grade II, is 14th century in date and includes the socket stone and the lower
part of the shaft.

The socket stone is set into a bank; it measures 0.71m square at the base and
0.39m in height, rising through chamfered corners with stop angles to an
octagonal section on the surface. The square socket hole cut into the surface
of the socket stone measures 0.4m square. The lower part of the shaft, which
is mortised into the socket stone, is 0.36m square and is broken off at a
height of 0.74m. Each of the four faces of the shaft bears a small recessed
panel, 0.19m from the base of the shaft and 0.23m square. The north face
portrays an eagle, the east a winged bull, the south an angel and the west a
winged lion. They are carved in low relief and each figure is holding a banner
or scroll. It is thought that the designs on the four panels represent the
four Evangelists, St John, St Luke, St Matthew and St Mark, respectively.
The full height of the cross in its present form is 1.13m.

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 on Yarmouth Road is a good example of a medieval standing
cross with a square to octagonal socket stone and a square shaft. The
decorative panels on the four faces of the cross shaft showing the angel,
eagle, winged lion and winged ox representing the four Evangelists are of
great interest and not known on other crosses in the county. Located to the
side of the Yarmouth Road on the outskirts of Hemsby it is believed to stand
on or near to its original position. The cross shows no 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), 313
2/24, Remains of cross shaft, Yarmouth Road, Hemsby,
Newspaper article in SMR file, Green, C, Hemsby's Cross: a relic of Saxon piety, (1963)

Source: Historic England

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