Village cross 160m south of St Margaret's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018302

Date first listed: 04-Dec-1924

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Jun-1998


Ordnance survey map of Village cross 160m south of St Margaret's Church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Norfolk

District: Broadland (District Authority)

Parish: Drayton

National Grid Reference: TG 18047 13583


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 at Drayton is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a square to octagonal socket stone and a roll and fillet decorated shaft. Situated on the village green, at a location where several roads cross, it is believed to stand in or near to its original position. 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 the remains of a standing stone cross, located on the village green, 160m south of the parish church of St Margaret's. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is principally 14th century in date with some later additions. It includes the two stepped base, socket stone and the remains of the shaft.

The steps are square in plan and are orientated north east-south west by north west-south east. The base step measures 1.78m square by 0.1m high. The top step measures 1.29m square by 0.15m in height. The socket stone, which is mortared to the top step is 0.48m in height and measures 0.56m square at the base, rising through worn chamfered corners with stop angles to a roughly octagonal section on the surface. The shaft, which is mortised diagonally into the socket stone and bonded with lead, is square in section and is decorated with roll and fillet moulding. It measures 0.34m square by 1.92m high and has been broken and remortared at a height of 0.54m. The full height of the cross in its present form is approximately 2.65m.

Bronze plaques attached to the north west and south east faces of the socket stone are each inscribed with the words: `You who pray for the souls of William Beaumont and Joanna his wife saying a Paternoster and an Ave Maria will earn a number of days pardon'. This is thought to have been a translation of a French inscription carved into the shaft which, although no longer visible, was recorded in 1735 by Tom Martin and Blomefield in 1739. The bronze plaques are thought to have been added when the cross was restored by Canon Hinds-Howell in 1873. There were originally two further plaques on the north east and south west sides but now only the nails and lead which held them up survive.

The pathway to the north west of the cross where it falls within the monument's protective margin is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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: 31137

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 306-8

End of official listing