Wayside cross on west side of Norwich Road, immediately north east of the Water Works


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018305

Date first listed: 19-Mar-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Jun-1998


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross on west side of Norwich Road, immediately north east of the Water Works
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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 27855 29255


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 wayside cross immediately north east of the Water Works is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a square to octagonal socket stone and a square to octagonal shaft. Situated on the side of the road, and at the end of a footpath which leads to a battlefield, it is believed to stand in or near to its original position. The cross has not been significantly restored but 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 the remains of a standing stone cross located on the west side of Norwich Road and immediately north east of the Water Works. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is 14th century in date and includes the socket stone and lower part of the original shaft. The socket stone is set on a cement plinth, on a cobbled area at the west edge of the pavement. The plinth, which is about 50mm high and measures about 0.8m square at the base, is bevelled. The socket stone measures 0.7m square at the base and is 0.38m high, rising through chamfered corners with stop angles to an octagonal section on the surface. The lower part of the original shaft, which has been broken at a height of 0.45m, is mortised into the socket stone and bonded with lead. It measures 0.32m square at the base and rises through chamfered corners to an octagonal section. The full height of the cross in its present form is 0.88m. A plaque set into the wall behind the cross is inscribed with the words: `Stump Cross. By tradition dates from and marks the site of a battle in the Peasants Revolt 1381'. The cross does not stand on the site of the battlefield, but it is situated at the end of a footpath which leads to it. It is considered more likely to represent a wayside cross. The cobbled surface, the surface of the pavement and the wall to the west where they fall within the area of protection 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: 31140

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 328

End of official listing