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Cross in St John the Baptist's churchyard

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Cross in St John the Baptist's churchyard

List entry Number: 1018108

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Norfolk

District: Breckland

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Mileham

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 24-Jul-1998

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 31127

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 churchyard cross at St John the Baptist's is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a tapering moulded shaft. Situated to the west of the tower and close to the main gateway to the church in the north west corner of the churchyard it is believed to stand in or near to its original position. Whilst parts of the cross have survived from medieval times, subsequent restoration has resulted in it's continued function as a public monument and amenity.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of a standing stone cross, located within the churchyard of St John the Baptist's Church, on a slightly raised area of ground approximately 10m to the west of the north west corner of the church tower. The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, is 15th century in date with some later additions. It includes the tomb chest base, the socket stone and the shaft.

The base consists of a rectangular tomb chest made up of a base plinth, four side panels and a lid. The base plinth rests on the ground and supports the four decorative side panels. Four quatrefoils, each with a heraldic shield in the centre are carved on the east and west panels. The north and south panels have one and two quatrefoils, respectively, also with central heraldic shields. Immediately above the side panels is the carved lid. The overall base measures 2.22m east-west by 1.2m north-south and 1.2m high. The socket stone, which stands on the tomb chest, is cruciform in plan and is in two parts, with a median chamfered step and an overall height of 0.85m. The lower stone measures 1.1m across, and the upper stone, above the chamfer, somewhat less. The shaft is mortised into the socket stone. It is 0.26m square at the base with chamfered corners and rises up through a tapering moulded section to a height of approximately 2m. At the very top of the shaft there are four narrow niches with small nodding ogee heads. The full height of the cross in its present form is approximately 4.05m.

The gravestones immediately to the north of the cross 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 318
Other
19th century drawing in SMR file,

National Grid Reference: TF 92177 19583

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1018108 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2017 at 12:25:53.

End of official listing