Cockthorpe village cross, 200m east of All Saints' Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013572

Date first listed: 01-Nov-1995


Ordnance survey map of Cockthorpe village cross, 200m east of All Saints' Church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Norfolk

District: North Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Binham

National Grid Reference: TF 98336 42171


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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.

Cockthorpe village cross is a good example of a medieval standing cross set at a road crossing. It is believed to stand on or very close to its original position, and archaeological deposits relating to its construction and use are likely to survive in the area beneath and immediately around it, despite some limited modern disturbance. It has additional interest because of the historical and geographical association with Binham priory and with another medieval standing cross in Binham village, 2.25km to the south.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the base of a medieval standing stone cross, located in the north west angle of the crossing of the road which runs east-west through the village and a track, parts of which now survive only as a footpath and right of way, between Binham village and priory to the south and Cockthorpe Common and Stiffkey Channel to the north. The base of the cross comprises a socket stone with a central mortise containing the foot of the cross shaft set in lead. The socket stone is partly sunken into the ground surface, above which it stands to a height of 0.4m. It measures 0.75m square in section at the bottom, with chamfered angles above, so that the top surface is octagonal. The bottom of the shaft, which has been broken off level with the surface of the base, measures 0.33m square in section. An earthfast stay for a service pole adjoining the monument, and the surface of the track which impinges on the east side are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 21381

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 305

End of official listing