Cross 300m north west of Tollbar Cottages


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016416

Date first listed: 19-Mar-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Nov-1998


Ordnance survey map of Cross 300m north west of Tollbar Cottages
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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: North Walsham

National Grid Reference: TG 27698 28034


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.

The cross 300m north west of Tollbar Cottages is a good example of a medieval standing cross. Situated close to the site of the 1381 battle between Henry le Despencer and the peasants, the cross is believed to stand in or near to its original position. Its traditional association with the commemoration of the battle and another standing cross 300m to the north east, gives it additional interest. The cross has not been significantly restored and has continued in use as a public monument and amenity from medieval times until the present day.


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


The monument includes a medieval standing stone cross located 300m north west of Tollbar Cottages and at the junction of three parish boundaries; North Walsham, Westwick and Worstead. The cross includes the remains of a shaft. It is square in plan with chamfered corners, measuring 0.25m square at the base, and tapering upwards to a diameter of 0.18m on the surface. A mortise hole in the top of the shaft measures 40mm across. The full height of the cross in its present form is 1.38m. This cross together with one 300m to the north east (the subject of a separate scheduling) are thought to relate to the battle at which Henry le Despencer, Bishop of Norwich, crushed the 1381 Peasant's Revolt lead by Jack Lytester. It is traditionally believed that one or both crosses were set up after the battle.

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: 32091

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 327-8
FMW report, Miller, I, SAM 197 c, (1989)

End of official listing