Wayside cross 650m south west of Park Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018299

Date first listed: 30-Nov-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Jun-1998


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross 650m south west of Park Farm
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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: Aylmerton

County: Norfolk

District: North Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: Gresham

National Grid Reference: TG 18087 38794


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 650m south west of Park Farm is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a square stepped base, a highly decorative square to octagonal socket stone, an octagonal shaft and a decorated capital. Situated in the centre of a crossroads, on the parish boundary between Aylmerton and Gresham, it is believed to stand in or near to its original position. The cross is thought to be located on a pilgrimage route to Walsingham. Most of the cross has survived from medieval times and subsequent restoration has resulted in 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 located at the centre of a crossroads and on the boundary between the parishes of Aylmerton and Gresham. The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, dates principally to the medieval period with some later additions. It includes the single step, the two part socket stone, the shaft, the capital and the modern head. The step at the base of the cross is square in plan and measures 1.8m in width by 0.2m high. The lower part of the socket stone rests on the step; it measures 0.88m square and 0.5m high. A rectangular recess, 0.2m high by 0.46m wide by 60mm deep, cut into the base of the southern face of the socket stone is thought to have been carved to hold offerings. Immediately above this is the upper part of the socket stone, measuring 0.62m square at the base and 0.69m in height, which is carved with a scalloped decoration towards the top. Above this it is chamfered to a smaller square, measuring 0.53m across, and rising upwards through well defined chamfered corners to an octagon with crenellated decoration on the surface. The shaft, which is mortared to the socket stone, was originally octagonal in section but has become weathered over the years. It measures 0.34m in diameter by about 2.5m in height. The capital is octagonal at the base and supports elaborate ogee-headed gables facing north, east, south and west, which are separated by smaller round headed niches. The modern head takes the form of a crucifix with foliate decoration at the terminals. The full height of the cross is approximately 4.8m.

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: 31134

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 299-300

End of official listing