Village cross at north west end of Cross Lane


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018319

Date first listed: 29-Sep-1998


Ordnance survey map of Village cross at north west end of Cross Lane
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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: Stanhoe

National Grid Reference: TF 80461 37031


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 the north west end of Cross Lane is a good example of a medieval standing cross with a stepped base and a socket stone. The cross is thought to stand on or near to its original position. The composition of the cross base (pebbles and flints mortared together) represents an unusual type of which there are only a few visible examples known in the region, the most famous being the Midsands Cross in Great Yarmouth. The cross is located 14km to the west of, and is thought to stand along, the Pilgrimage route to Little Walsingham and this gives it additional interest. It has not been significantly restored but has continued in use as a public monument from medieval times up to 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 a small raised island of grass in the centre of the road at the junction where Cross Lane meets Docking Lane. The remains of the cross, which is Listed Grade II, are medieval in date and include a single block of mortared flint rubble which is believed to represent the core of the two stepped base and the socket stone.

The base, which is roughly circular in plan, measures 1.4m in diameter and 0.72m high. There were once four steps which are now just discernable in the matrix. The core of the socket stone, which is roughly square in shape and constructed of the same mortared flint rubble as the base, is built onto the base and measures 0.48m high by 0.97m in diameter. The full height of the cross in its present form is approximately 1.2m.

The mortared flint matrix of both the base and socket stone would have originally been faced with stone.

The surface of the road, 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: 31144

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cozens-Hardy, , 'Norfolk Archaeology' in Norfolk Crosses, , Vol. 25, (1935), 326
4/46, Cross base at north end of Cross Lane,

End of official listing