Sharrington village cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015253

Date first listed: 26-Feb-1957

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Feb-1997


Ordnance survey map of Sharrington village cross
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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: Brinton

National Grid Reference: TG 03131 36675


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.

Sharrington village cross is a good example of a medieval standing cross and is believed to stand on or very close to its original position. Its situation on an island reserve at a minor road junction indicates that archaeological deposits relating to its construction and later use are likely to survive beneath and immediately around it. The medieval socket stone and part of the shaft and the head have survived into modern times, and the restoration of the shaft and capital demonstrate its continued function as a public monument and amenity.


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


The monument includes a standing stone cross situated c.80m ENE of All Saints Church, Sharrington, on a small island at the junction of two roads. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, includes a brick foundation, a socket stone and the lower section of the shaft, which are both of medieval date, two upper sections of the shaft which are part of a modern restoration, a capital which is also modern, and the broken base of the head.

The foundation is c.0.88m square and visible to a height of one brick (0.07m) above the ground surface. It supports the socket stone which measures 0.85m on each side and 0.35m in height and is square at the base and octagonal on the upper surface, with rounded broach stops. In the centre of each face there is a hole c.0.04m in diameter, perhaps for the attachment of plaques. The shaft is c.1.65m in overall height and tapers slightly. The original medieval basal section, 0.66m in height, is morticed into the upper surface of the socket stone, the joint being run with lead. It is square at the foot, with the remains of broach stops, and was originally octagonal above, although the angles are now rounded by weathering. The modern part of the shaft is in three sections and is clearly distinguished from the older base by differences in weathering and the colour of the stone. The modern capital is also octagonal, with elaborate moulding, and above this is the base of the head, which matches the stone of the medieval base and is circular with roll moulding. The upper surface is uneven where the cross or finial has been broken off.

Sharrington is on or close to the route from east Norfolk to Binham Abbey and the medieval shrine at Walsingham, and it is possible that the cross was erected as a preaching station for pilgrims.

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: 21421

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 324
AM7 NF125, (1956)

End of official listing