Village cross, 90m north east of St James's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018104

Date first listed: 21-Jan-1937

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Mar-1998


Ordnance survey map of Village cross, 90m north east of St James's Church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Norfolk

District: King's Lynn and West Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Hockwold cum Wilton

National Grid Reference: TL 73521 88082


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 village cross 90m north east of St James's Church is a good example of a medieval standing cross with an octagonal base, and a square to octagonal socket stone. Situated on a triangle of land at the north end of Church Lane, the road which leads to St James's Church, it is believed to stand in or near to its original position. Some disturbance to the cross took place in 1985 when it was hit by a car, but there was minimal damage to the earlier parts of the cross and unobtrusive repairs to the base have ensured that it remains in use 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, located on a triangular green at the north end of Church Lane and about 90m to the north east of St James's Church. The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, is principally 14th century in date with some later additions. It includes the pedestal base, the plinth, the socket stone, the shaft and the ornamental capital.

The pedestal base is octagonal in plan. The lower part is constructed of 16 courses of bricks and measures 1.03m high and 1.4m in diameter. Immediately above this is an octagonal stone plinth, made up of two courses of sandstone blocks; the upper of which has a moulded overhanging lip. This plinth is 0.46m high with a maximum diameter of 1.72m. A further course of stone above this is square in plan and measures 0.76m square and 0.14m high. The socket stone rests on this stone course; it measures 0.66m square at the base and rises through stop angles to octagonal on the upper surface. It has a height of 0.38m. The shaft, which is 0.26m square at the base, is set diagonally into the top of the socket stone. It is quatrefoil in section and tapers upwards to a height of approximately 4m. At the top of the shaft is an ornamental capital. The full height of the cross in its present form is approximately 6.41m.

The iron railings encircling the monument and the surface of the pavement to the north are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 31112

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 330
Rose, E, Wilton Cross, Hockwold cum Wilton, (1986)

End of official listing