Ancient Monuments

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Langley Cross 360m north of Park Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Langley with Hardley, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.5529 / 52°33'10"N

Longitude: 1.4615 / 1°27'41"E

OS Eastings: 634762.489926

OS Northings: 300632.750003

OS Grid: TG347006

Mapcode National: GBR XL2.Y25

Mapcode Global: VHM63.9309

Entry Name: Langley Cross 360m north of Park Farm

Scheduled Date: 14 May 1926

Last Amended: 9 May 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020060

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30566

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Langley with Hardley

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Thurton St Ethelbert

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes a medieval standing cross located approximately 87m west
of Langley School (formerly Langley Hall) at the junction of the parish
boundaries of Langley with Hardley, Carleton St Peter, Thurton and Chedgrave.
The cross formerly stood approximately 2.6km to the north east, adjacent to
the ruins of Langley Abbey where it is shown on a map published in 1797, and
it is said to have been moved to the present site around 1801 by Sir Thomas
Beauchamp Proctor.

The medieval cross, which is dated to the 15th century, and Listed Grade II,
stands on a 19th century pedestal and plinth, raised on a low earthen mound
about 0.4m in height above the level of the adjacent fields. The plinth is of
brick and circular, three courses in height and approximately 1.78m in
diameter. It rests on a rectangular base which is two courses in height above
the ground surface and measures 1.78m NNE-SSW by approximately 1.9m. The
pedestal which stands on the plinth is 1.65m in height overall, hexagonal and
is built of limestone, much of it reused blocks and architectural fragments
probably obtained from the ruined medieval abbey. The top part, above a
chamfered moulding, is inscribed with the names of the four parishes. The
cross above this comprises a socket stone, shaft and capital, also of
limestone. The socket stone is rectangular, with rounded stop-angles, and the
slender, tapering shaft, which is also rectangular, is set into it diagonally.
Each of the four faces of the shaft is carved in relief, with a recessed panel
containing a figure standing on a tall shaft pedestal beneath a crocketed
canopy. The figures are identified as representing the four evangelists, and
the shaft terminates in a capital or knop carved with the corresponding
symbols of angel, lion, ox and eagle. Set into the upper surface of the
capital is an iron rod which presumably originally supported a cross head.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

Langley Cross is a well-preserved example of this class of monument, with a
socket stone, shaft and capital which survive largely intact and with much
original architectural and sculptural detail. It also has importance as the
only surviving medieval standing cross in Norfolk which includes a shaft
ornamented with carved figures. Although it no longer stands in its original
location, it retains its significance as a public monument, marking the
junction of the boundaries of four parishes, and the original association with
Langley Abbey gives it additional interest.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 317
Title: A Topographical Map of the County of Norfolk
Source Date: 1797

Source: Historic England

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