Village cross, 150m south of St Mary's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018316

Date first listed: 06-Mar-1957

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Jun-1998


Ordnance survey map of Village cross, 150m south of St Mary'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: Titchwell

National Grid Reference: TF 76237 43721


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 150m south of St Mary's Church is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a square to octagonal socket stone, and shaft with an octagonal capital. Situated on a circular earthen mound immediately to the north east of the crossroads, it is believed to stand in or near to its original position.

The siting of the cross on an earthen mound is of additional interest. It is believed to be contemporary with the cross and will retain archaeological information concerning its construction and the manner and duration of its use. Whilst most of the cross has survived from medieval times, subsequent restoration has ensured 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 and the circular earthen mound on which it stands. It is located at the crossroads 150m to the south of St Mary's Church. The cross, which is Listed Grade II*, is principally 15th century in date with some later additions. It includes the earthen mound, the brick base, the socket stone, the shaft and the capital.

The earthen mound stands to a height of approximately 1.5m and covers a roughly circular area with a maximum diameter of 13m. The cross is located on top of the mound. The base is constructed of five courses of bricks. It measures 1.12m square at the foot and reduces upwards to a smaller square, 0.78m in width. The socket stone is mortared to the upper brick course. It stands to a height of 0.48m and is 0.72m square at the base, rising through defined chamfered corners with stop angles to an octagon on the upper surface. The shaft, which is 0.3m square at the base and approximately 3m high, rises through chamfered corners to a tapering octagonal section. At the top of the shaft, and bonded to it with lead, is a moulded octagonal capital, approximately 0.3m in diameter and 0.25m high. The full height of the cross in its present form is approximately 4.15m.

The surface of the road to the north east of the mound and the surface of the tarmac pathway to the south, where they fall within the monument's protective margin, 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: 31131

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 327

End of official listing