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A Survey of Medieval (and earlier) Freestanding Crosses in Norfolk

   Norfolk Cross Survey: Contents

The Survey Parish by Parish: M - N

(Marham to North Wootton)

     

Marham 

(Site of cross)
 

A parish map of Marham - undated, but thought to be of c.1734 - shows a cross named 'White Cross' at the junction of Churchgate Way and White Cross Way.1 Neither road exists today, but Churchgate Way seems to have been an eastward continuation of what is now Mill Lane. The line of White Cross Way remains only as a field boundary, which fades out, then reappears as a continuation of The Street. The spot where the cross stood would have been at about TF71020985, which is the entrance to the site of the Old Mill (now occupied by a bungalow.)

 

1. NRO: HARE 6814

     

Marham 

(Possible cross sites)
 

The same parish map cited above shows 'Maiden Cross Furlong' here at a crossroads where Churchgate Way meets Swaffham Way, in fields north-east of the church. Whyte1 says that it shows an actual object called 'Maidens Cross.' It doesn't, but the name suggests a physical cross rather than simply a crossroads. By the time of the 1841 tithe map, Swaffham Way had become a drove road. Now it is a track that peters out into a field boundary, and meets Fen Road at c.TF71820987 on the edge of Upper Marham - which is where I think the cross may have stood.

 

Whyte mentions a third cross somewhere on Churchgate Way, called 'Stub Cross', at a junction in the fields. However, her earlier work2 suggests that only the previous two crosses were actually on that particular road. Again, this may have been no more than a named crossroads, although the name implies a variation on the common 'stump cross' used for a broken structure.

 

1. Nicola Whyte: 'Norfolk Wayside Crosses' in 'Art, Faith & Place in East Anglia' (Boydell Press, 2012) p.167.

2. Nicola Whyte: 'Inhabiting the Landscape', (Windgather Press, 2008), p.128.

     

Marham 

(Doubtful cross site)
 

The 1879-86 1st edition OS 6" map marks 'Cross' at TF7086208938, though not in a 'Gothic' script indicating an antiquity. This was in a patch of woodland called The Shrubbery on the western slope of Chapel Hill. 16th and 17th century documents record a medieval chapel of St. Guthlac somewhere at Marham, and the proximity of the hill seems to have prompted the suggestion that maybe the cross was erected to mark the site of the chapel.

 

However, I have my doubts. The same map shows an object called 'The Temple' 40m south of the cross. Both are gone now, but they were still marked on OS maps up to the 1950s. The Temple was actually a circular post-medieval garden house, that had Corinthian-style columns in wood. As the woodland was part of a park belonging to Marham House, I suspect that both cross and Temple were created there as 'features' in the 19th century, which is when the original House was built.

     

Marsham 

(Remains of cross - now lost)
  Cozens-Hardy described an object that he saw just inside the fence of Grove Farm in the centre of Marsham as "what is evidently the core of the village cross." He said that it was about 5 feet (1.5m) high and 3 feet (nearly 1m) in diameter, but gave no further details. Locally it was said to be the remains of a cross, which Cozens-Hardy thought had probably once stood on the nearby village green, beside the old Norwich turnpike road. It was in the same spot (TG1973524044) when a field investigator saw it in the early 1970s. It was then described as "an irregular lump of flint nodules and concrete at present covered in ivy" 1.2m x 1.2m. While Grove Farmhouse still exists, this actual location is now beneath one of the connecting roads built when the new A140 Norwich Road came through the village. During its construction in 1975 or slightly after, the remnants of the cross were accidentally taken away and dumped in old gravel pits at Frettenham.
     

Marshland St. James 

(Remains of cross)
 

I've written extensively about this cross elsewhere on the site, both here and here, in my examination of the tales about the legendary Norfolk giant Tom Hickathrift. So this time I'll keep to the bare facts. Haiwarde's 1591 map of the Marshland and Dugdale's map of 1662 both show a cross in the middle of the Smeeth, the vast medieval pastureland that was common grazing for the seven parishes that surrounded it. This was the same location occupied by an earthen mound known locally as the Giant's Grave. In 1879 a cross was standing atop the mound, called 'Hickathrift's Candlestick'.1

 

Much of the mound was destroyed in the 19th century, and along with it, part of the cross shaft. At some point the remains became obscured by soil and vegetation, and were apparently lost. But in March 1929 the cross was uncovered again when earth was being taken from the mound to fill in a nearby pond. Cozens-Hardy saw it soon after, and described - and photographed (left) - a standard pedestal with stop-angles, 84cm square and 53cm high, with about 60cm of broken shaft still mortised into it. This cross, at which the Marshland commoners were said to meet at midsummer, stood on its mound at TF5237009830. No surface traces remain, but the spot still exists in a patch of rough ground behind houses on the east side of Smeeth Road. Cozens-Hardy tells us that the remains of the cross were moved into a hedge beside the road. (Photo from 'Norfolk Archaeology' Vol.25, by courtesy of www.nnas.info.)

 

By 1950 the cross in the hedge was at the bottom of the garden belonging to a council house. The occupant, Mr. Harry Bodgers, removed it as an 'eyesore' and buried it nearby.2 Then in 1964, a Mr. Colman Green reported that the cross was visible again, and learned a new name for it from a local farm hand: ‘Hickathrift’s Collar-stud’.3 Some time after this the cross - or at least its pedestal - was taken away and stored at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum. In 1979 it was returned to the people of Marshland St. James, who incorporated it behind brickwork into the base of their village sign.4 There it now stands at the main crossroads, hidden from sight, at TF5239009902, about 70m from its original location.

 

1. Jonathon Peckover: 'Fen Tumuli' in 'The Journal of the British Archaeological Association', Vol. 35 (1879), p.11.

2. 'Sunday Express’, May 14th 1950.

3. 'Eastern Daily Press', December 12th, 1964.

4. Information from Ms. Rosalinda M. C. Hardiman, former Curator of the Wisbech & Fenland Museum.

     

Martham 

(Documented record of cross)
 

Sandred1 gives two field names that indicate the presence of a cross in this parish. First is 'Cruchestoft' in 1292, from the 'Survey of Martham Manor'.2 This contains Old English 'crūc' = 'cross', plus 'toft', meaning 'plot' or 'homestead'. The second comes from the Martham Court Rolls of 1500: 'Crosswong', where 'wong' = 'field, meadow etc'.3 Since the word 'cross' having anything other than a religious meaning didn't begin to develop until the late 14th century, this has to be the definite site of a cross rather than a 'possible'.

 

1. Karl Inge Sandred: 'The Place-Names of Norfolk' (English Place-Name Society, 1996), Part 2, p. 65.

2. British Library: Stowe MS 936

3. NRO: DCN 60/22

     

Matlaske 

(Documented record of cross)
 

Walter Rye has an entry probably sourced from the Le Neve collections: "To making a cross in the churchyard, 1504".1 This was the churchyard of St. Mary's at Barningham Winter (TG14663567), which is in the park around Barningham Hall.

 

1. Walter Rye: 'Some rough materials for a history of the hundred of North Erpingham in the county of Norfolk' part 3, 1889, p.605.

     

Melton Constable with Burgh Parva 

(Documented record of cross)
 

From 'Additional Charters' in the British Library, Sandred obtains these field names at Melton: 'Crosgrene' in 1394, and 'Crosslond' in 1484.1 Also, since Melton appears in Domesday Book as 'Maeltuna', Sandred and others have suggested that the name of the village means 'farmstead or village with a cross.' Old English 'mæl' has several possible meanings, one of which is 'cross or monument.'

 

1. Karl Inge Sandred: 'The Place-Names of Norfolk' (English Place-Name Society, 2002), Part 3, p.136.

     

Merton 

(Remains of cross - now lost)
 

In 1864, the rector of St. Peter's church (TL91209802) wrote: "In the four comers of the churchyard are four of the stones which once formed the shaft of the churchyard cross. From their octagonal shape, I suppose the cross to have been of the fourteenth century, or the same date as the church".1

 

Some time in the 1960s or 70s the churchyard was enlarged to the west, and the boundary made into a curve, so there are no longer strictly 'four corners' to it. But this is of no matter, as the whole precinct is now so overgrown with chest-high grass and nettles that my search in June 2019 for any remaining sections of cross shaft was in vain.

 

1. Rev. George Crabbe: 'Merton Church and Hall' in 'Norfolk Archaeology' Vol. 6 (1864), p.309.

     

Methwold 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 3/9/18.

Cozens-Hardy tells us that Tom Martin said of St. George's church "A cross in this church yard 1718." By the time of the Rev. J.D. Gedge in 1893, there was only "the rubble base of an octagonal cross" remaining, which he thought had originally been the village's market cross.1 He considered it probably of the 12th century, although it's now listed as 14th. His own sketch of the base is reproduced here.

 

There was no mention of any shaft, and yet the cross now has one. It stands near the south-east corner of the church (at TL7325894808), with a modern octagonal plinth of stone blocks in three tiers presumably enclosing the original 'rubble base'. There is no socket stone, with the lower end of the shaft cemented directly into the top of the base, and the surface finished off with flints and cobbles. The four sections of the shaft - wherever they came from - seem to have been almost randomly stuck together, as they just don't fit. While the lower three sections are octagonal, the topmost one is roughly rectangular and worn away on one side. In ascending order they measure 30cm across, 27cm, 20cm, and 24cm. Overall, the shaft measures 1.76m in height.

 

Cozens-Hardy visited here in the early 1930s, after the shaft had been placed in position, but before the new base had been made. The rubble core was still visible then, with just a few pieces of the stone-facing left on the lowest level. It showed that the original base was octagonal like the shaft, and made in three steps. Presumably the modern base has been made to echo the old one - perhaps based upon Gedge's drawing.

 

1. John Denny Gedge: 'The History of a Village Community in the Eastern Counties' (Agas H. Goose, 1893), p.37.

     

Methwold 

(Site of cross)
 

A few hundred metres south-west of the church is Cross Hill, at a three-ways where Hythe Road, Crown Street and Old Feltwell Road meet (TL7308194671.) Right in the middle of this junction is a simple wooden cross cemented into the ground, surrounded by a fence of iron rods on a low, circular stone platform. This marks the spot where a medieval cross once stood. (When I visited the site in September 2019 the cross was missing and the railings badly bent, apparently the result of a vehicle hitting it the previous month.)

 

When the Rev. Gedge arrived at Methwold in 1873 he heard about the old 'stone' that people remembered being on that spot, but had long since disappeared. Then a storm came, which swept the soil away and exposed the surface of the 'stone', still in its old location. Gedge quickly had it excavated, and moved to a garden nearby.

 

What is strange is that the vicar didn't recognise it as being the pedestal of a cross at all. To him, it was "a sacred settlement-stone" placed there in 'British' times - i.e. before the Romans - when the village was first established. He believed that early Christian missionaries had re-consecrated this "old sacrificial stone" by mortising a timber cross into it. Gedge described it as "a simple square of reddish freestone, very roughly tooled; moreover, the top of it to the depth of some inches had been altered to an octagon, in order that it might be bound with a ring of iron; for in the last century it had at last been split from corner to corner by the wedging in of a guide-post".1

 

In 1890 Gedge had it reinstated "within a yard" of its original location with a cross of oak cemented into it, and added railings around it, plus two direction signs and a lamp to its top. His drawing of it in this 'renewed' state (left) clearly shows that his 'settlement-stone' was no more nor less than a fairly standard square medieval pedestal, made octagonal on top by the carving of stop-angles. According to a photo in the Francis Frith collection, the pedestal with its wooden cross was still there in about 1965, but I haven't yet found out what became of it.

 

1. John Denny Gedge: 'The History of a Village Community in the Eastern Counties' (Agas H. Goose, 1893), p.5-6.

     

Middleton 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 15/8/18.

On the grass to the right just within the eastern entrance to St. Mary's churchyard is a length of shaft in a simple and plain socket stone, set on a modern slab to keep it stable (TF6628716006.) This 15th century limestone cross may not be in its original position. Cozens-Hardy says that when he saw it, there was a plaque - now lost - calling it "The village cross restored by Edmund le Woods Esq. A.D. 1870." He suggested that, if it was indeed a village cross rather than belonging to the churchyard, it may have previously stood on the small green once not far away, at the junction of Lynn Road and School Road (TF66241595.) In Cozens-Hardy's time the village pump still stood there on the green, but both have now vanished.

 

The pedestal is very damaged and worn, with no sign that it ever had stop-angles. It measures 74cm x 76cm and 35cm high, while the shaft is 29cm x 26cm at the bottom, but much eroded. Rising to a height of 1m, the corners of the shaft are chamfered, and may once have been octagonal in section; now it's more rounded, with shards flaked off from the sides.

     

Middleton 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 15/8/18.

There is a second cross at St. Mary's, which Cozens-Hardy either missed, or it wasn't there at the time - although its position just within the main south-west entrance suggests that it might be an original churchyard cross (TF6624315959.) This is a socket stone without a shaft. 55cm square and 39cm high, its chamfered corners - without stop-angles - make an octagonal upper section with decorative horizontal moulding. The mortise hole is 22cm square and 11cm deep.

     

Mileham 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 14/8/18.

About 10m west of the tower of St. John the Baptist's church is a unique survival for Norfolk: a medieval cross pedestal and part of a shaft set purposefully on top of a medieval tomb (TF9217619584.) Opinions differ, but the general agreement seems to be that the tomb and pedestal are both of the 15th century, while the shaft may be earlier. This is a chest tomb - also called a tomb-chest, table tomb or altar tomb - the lid of which has been specifically made with projections to accommodate the pedestal. Therefore, either the two are contemporary, or a modified lid was built later to house the cross.

 

I tend to think the latter, because of this passage in Blomefield regarding St. John's: "In the churchyard is raised on stone, a curious lofty pillar, for a cross, very antique, but the upper part of it is now broken off; and by it, on the north side, a freestone altar tomb, with a cross carved thereon, finely flowered and ornamented, probably in memory of some priest".1 The description of that 'altar tomb' matches perfectly the chest tomb in question, and there is no other like it anywhere near. So, when that passage was written in the mid- to late 18th century, tomb and cross had not yet been married together.

 

The two-stage socket stone is basically cruciform in shape, unlike any standard pedestal, and thus, I think, has been specially designed to fit the tomb lid. The lower stage is 1.04m across, with the upper somewhat smaller at 84cm, measuring 43cm and 40cm high respectively. The 1.72m tall shaft is slender and tapering, 26cm square at the bottom, with deeply moulded sides, and may be only one section of what was originally an elaborate freestanding churchyard cross. There's no capital as such, just a small capstone, with small ogee-canopied niches below it. Including tomb, the whole thing stands 3.75m high, and is rapidly being smothered by tall nettles, as the whole graveyard is now disused and overgrown.

 

While the survival of this tomb-and-cross combination may indeed be unique in Norfolk, there is at least a documentary record of an exact parallel at St. George Colegate, and something very similar at St. Peter Mancroft, both in Norwich.

 

1. Blomefield: Vol.10 (1809), p.24.

     

Mundesley 

(Remains of cross - now lost)
  Following a century of standing in ruins, All Saints church was almost entirely rebuilt in the early 1900s. It was presumably during this restoration that a medieval cross pedestal was found in the churchyard. According to the records of the NHER  (No.14141) this carved, 'Perpendicular' style pedestal was reported in 1978 to be by the door of an early 19th century brick kiln, which stands incongruously in the middle of the Kiln Cliffs Caravan Park (TG3031337450.) However, I visited the park in August 2019, and there was no sign of this socket stone anywhere around the kiln. I made enquiries of the management, who told me that they have no knowledge of the cross ever being on their site, and their photographs and records of the kiln show no trace of it, despite them dating back to the early 20th century. I've reported my findings to the Norfolk Historic Environment Record, who have kindly updated their database.
     

Mundesley 

(Possible cross site)
 

The 1838 tithe award1 reveals that field 203 was called 'Eades Cross', while field 205 was 'Middle Eades Cross'. Both were in the area of TG30053702, on the north side of Gimingham Road, just east of where the Mundesley/Gimingham parish boundary crosses the road. As there seems no evidence that there was ever a road junction here, it's likely that the name refers to an actual cross that has long since been lost.

 

1. Nat Arch, Kew: IR 29/23/384

     

Mundford 

(Site of cross)
 

'Luke's Cross' appears on the 1842 tithe map1 as an actual site - rather than a plot of land - on the north side of Lynford Road east of Mundford (TL81079410.) Nowadays the spot is right next to the entrance to forest fire road 35, but this is a modern track that didn't exist until the late 20th century. The site is about 180m west of the Mundford - Lynford parish boundary, and according to Bryant's 1826 map was then part of Mundford Common. Neither Bryant nor Faden's maps show any roads branching off here.

 

1. Nat Arch, Kew: IR 30/23/385

     

Necton 

(Documented record of crosses)
 

In a 1427 document containing 'Depositions in an Ecclesiastical Case between the perpetual vicar of Necton and the rector of Fransham', a description of the parish boundaries makes mention of two crosses.1 First is 'Sparkyscros', a timber cross said to have been erected by one Walter Sparke of Necton. The assumption is that the name arose from a use of the 'his genitive', i.e. a contraction of 'Sparke-his-cross'. Personally, I think it's just as likely that Sparke was known colloquially as 'Sparky', so the name may be a simpler possessive. The cross stood at about TF86160988, where the boundary, following the route of a Roman road, intersects the A47.

 

Second is "a certain old cross called Goodalescros." This was located just over 300m south of the previous one at about TF86110955, where the boundary turns to leave the Roman road and runs along a former bank known as the 'Heydyche'. As the surname Goodale was still known in the village a century later, it seems likely that each cross was named for the person who paid for it. The Roman road they both stood on - now a series of hedged field boundaries - is the same 'Walsingham Way' marked by the 'High Cross' at Little Dunham.

 

1. NRO: MS 13177, 40A7

     

Necton 

(Possible cross site)
 

Carthew1 records a contract dated October 13th 1637 in which "Alice Wright of Skarning…enfeoffed [gave in exchange for service] to William Mason of Necton…half an acre in the Field of Necton, in a furlong from Two Crutches to the mill, abutting on way from Goswong Crosse to Sporle…" So far I've been unable to establish a location for this, so I can't determine if it was a crossroads or an actual cross. As the land given is only half an acre it must be close to the mill. But there were two mills known at Necton: one in the village next to Mill Lane, the other to the south-west at Whitby's Plantation. The 'Two Crutches' has a separate mention, and I suspect it may have been an inn. 'Goswong' is recorded as a personal name in 1268 in Holme, Lincs. Or in Old English, it could mean 'goose meadow'. In the same contract it's also written as 'Goswonge' and 'Gooswong', apparently a quarentine - measure of land - in Necton. There is also a mention of 'Gooswong ditch', so the cross must be named after its location.

 

Another contract noted by Carthew has a mention in 1636 of 'Blooting's Crosse' at Necton. However, this might simply have been a typographical error. The same name appears elsewhere as 'Blooting's Closse', and 'Closse' is the only entry for this in Carthew's index.

 

1. G.A. Carthew: 'A History of the Parishes of West and East Bradenham with those of Necton and Holme Hale' (Agas H. Goose, 1883), p.148.

     

North Creake 

(Site of cross)
  Old maps including the 1st edition OS 6" mark 'Cross (site of)' at TF8554238470. Once known as 'The Moor', this is now a grassy triangle at the junction of Wells Road and Normans Lane, with Cross House Farm nearby. When Cozens-Hardy visited in the early 1930s, a few inches of the rubble core of a base were still visible above ground, but these vanished in the 1970s or 80s.
     

North Elmham 

(Documented record of cross)
 

Cozens-Hardy draws attention to Bryant's Norfolk map of 1826, where 'Elmham High Cross' and 'High Cross Grove' can be found marked on Foxburrow Hill, south of the village on the Dereham Road. His enquiries in 1933 disclosed no trace or memory of any cross there, but he wasn't the first to remark on the names. In 1891 the vicar of Elmham noted "a piece of land in the parish, on the rising ground beyond the King's Head Inn and on the right hand side of the road running to Dereham, which still retains the name of 'High Cross', and there I have supposed that the Parish Cross once stood".1

 

Nowadays this spot is merely where the drive to Elmham Lodge meets the Dereham Road (TF98432015.) But in the 15th century - and earlier - the drive was a track that went further westwards to an area called Burgrave, while another lane struck off south-east, being part of a longer route called the Procession Way. This was a route used during rogation days at Spring-time when the priest and his flock would traverse the parish, blessing the crops. So there was a crossroads here, but was there an actual cross?

 

The Rev. Legge found several references in the churchwardens' accounts of the 1540s to one "Rychard Heywarde at ye Crosse", but while that suggests the presence of a cross at Elmham, it gives no help in locating it. Similarly, Carthew in the same accounts for 1631-2 found two references2 to land "at High Crosse", plus in 1566-7, demesne land of Nowers Manor "nere highe crosse".3

 

Confirmation of both the existence and location of the cross comes with David Yaxley's close examination of the parish history through its old documents.4 Within a 1566 copy of a 1454 survey of manorial lands at Elmham5 is found "the cross called the high Cross standing in the fork of the road leading towards Derham and the said path called le Procession Way leading towards Woodford..."

 

1. Augustus George Legge: 'Ancient Churchwardens' Accounts in the Parish of North Elmham' (Agas H. Goose, 1891), p.102.

2. G.A. Carthew: 'The Hundred of Launditch and Deanery of Brisley' Part 3 (1879), p.146.

3. Carthew: op cit, Part 2, p.558.

4. David Yaxley: 'The Topography of the Parish in the Late Middle Ages', in 'East Anglian Archaeology' Report No.9, North Elmham Vol.2 (Norfolk Museums Service, 1980), p.519-560.

5. NRO: DCN 52/6

     

North Elmham 

(Documented record of cross)
 

Another cross revealed by David Yaxley's examination of the 1454 Elmham survey is "Le Stumpitcrosse" at TF98632176, just west of the High Street.1 It stood in what are now the gardens of Park House, in the angle between what was then called 'Walsingham Way', and a lane called 'Lingstye' - the beginning of which still exists as a track and footpath past Elmham House.

 

1. David Yaxley: 'The Topography of the Parish in the Late Middle Ages', in 'East Anglian Archaeology' Report No.9, North Elmham Vol.2 (Norfolk Museums Service, 1980), p.529.

     

North Elmham 

(Documented record of cross)
 

On the same 'Walsingham Way' as the cross above was the 'Hey Cross'. This was at about TF97922361, where a footpath meets what is now Ryburgh Road, but on Faden's 1797 map this was then a crossroads. 'Le Heycrosse' is where the 1454 Elmham survey begins.1 There is also mention by Carthew2 of a trespass action in 1589-90 concerning "2 acres of land, lying near Heyecrosse, by Walsingham way west", as well as in 1546-7 "Item: payed to John Woodcok for certen londs lyeing within ye pasture beyonde ye hey crosse to Ryborough wood..." Calling it 'ye' or 'le' Hey Cross - the equivalent of 'the' in medieval documents - is to me confirmation that an actual cross is being described rather than just a crossroads.

 

1. David Yaxley: 'The Topography of the Parish in the Late Middle Ages', in 'East Anglian Archaeology' Report No.9, North Elmham Vol.2 (Norfolk Museums Service, 1980), p.529, 550.

2. G.A. Carthew: 'The Hundred of Launditch and Deanery of Brisley' Part 2 (1878), p.571, 600.

     

North Elmham 

(Documented record of cross)
 

Cozens-Hardy says "old evidences" mention a cross standing at the north end of the parish, on 'Ryburgh Way.' This was the White Cross, a few hundred metres north of the Hey Cross, at about TF97782398. Once again this was a crossroads on Faden's map of 1797, but is now a meeting of two roads and a farm track. 'Le Whytecrosse' is recorded here in the 1454 manorial survey of Elmham.1

 

1. David Yaxley: 'The Topography of the Parish in the Late Middle Ages', in 'East Anglian Archaeology' Report No.9, North Elmham Vol.2 (Norfolk Museums Service, 1980), p.530.

     

North Elmham 

(Documented record of crosses)
 

An unnamed wayside cross stood at the south end of the village (but north of the High Cross), in the south-east angle at the crossing of what are now the B1110 and the B1145 (c.TF98432059.) In the 1454 survey they were known respectively as Dereham Way and Lynn Way.1

 

Also, according to Yaxley, "There are two references in the fourteenth century to 'Lowecross' which has not been identified".2 It could refer to one of the crosses already noted, or it could be a separate object altogether.

 

1. David Yaxley: 'The Topography of the Parish in the Late Middle Ages', in 'East Anglian Archaeology' Report No.9, North Elmham Vol.2 (Norfolk Museums Service, 1980), p.533.

2. Ibid, p.558.

     

North Pickenham 

(Remains of cross)
  A will dated 1428 - which I haven't been able to track down, but which is cited by Cozens-Hardy - requests Robert Fayerman to be buried "within the churchyard of North Pickenham next unto the Crosse ther stondyng." The churchyard is that of St. Andrew's, which is at TF86550692. It's possible that a part of this cross was discovered some time before 1981, in a wall near the village. According to Lynn Museum, what was found was a length of limestone shaft, 30cm x 25cm at the bottom, and 96cm high. It's octagonal above a square section, and on each side of that section is a niche in which is a figure carved in relief. These have been interpreted as the saints James, Thomas, Edmund and Andrew - although in 1995 Norwich Castle Museum said that one of them was "Robert Fayerman plus scroll." If that was true the identification with the churchyard cross would be positive, but the provenance still remains uncertain. The length of shaft was bought for Lynn Museum in 1997, where it now resides.
     

Northrepps 

(Remains of cross)
 

I have absolutely no idea of its location, nor if it still exists, but there was a letter from Mr. John Golden in the 'Eastern Daily Press' of August 15th 1974 mentioning a socket stone in a garden in this village. The dimensions given were 91cm square by 41cm high, with a mortise hole 61cm square and 23cm deep. I can find no record of this unusually large pedestal anywhere else.

 

There might perhaps be some connection with the hamlet of Crossdale Street on the western edge of the parish. It appears simply as 'Crosedale' in the Feet of Fines for Norfolk1 in 1286, and that early date means that it had to have a religious connotation.

 

1. Walter Rye: 'A Short Calendar of the Feet of Fines for Norfolk (Richard I to Edward I)' (Agas H. Goose, 1885), p.131.

     

North Runcton 

(Documented record of cross)
 

Right at the north end of the parish, on the outskirts of King's Lynn, can still be seen the rough hollows and mounds that mark the site of the deserted medieval village of Hardwick (TF63631843 area.) A legal case in 1635-6 refers to 1.5 acres of land "lyinge at the white cross in Hardwick".1 Exactly where this stood is unknown.

 

1. Nat Arch, Kew: E 134/11Chas1/Mich22

     

North Walsham 

(Remains of cross)
 

The heath south of North Walsham was the scene in 1381 of the final battle of the Peasants' Revolt. It took place in a field west of the B1150 Norwich Road, and just north of Heath Plantation (TG274282.) Three crosses are said by local tradition to have marked the battlefield - although there is nothing to directly to link them to the event, and if they were, all have been moved from their original positions.

 

The closest is on private land at TG2769828033, at the edge of a wood more than 200m south-east of the battle site. All that remains, says Historic England, is the lower part of a square shaft 1.38m long, 25cm square at the bottom and tapering upwards. A 40mm diameter mortise hole survives in the top. It used to stand upright in the field a few metres away, marking the point where the parishes of North Walsham, Westwick and Worstead meet. By the time Cozens-Hardy saw it in 1926, the farmer had removed it as an obstacle to ploughing and it was laying flat in a hedge.

     

North Walsham 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of Visit: 22/5/19.

About 300m north-east of the previous cross is another which, in total contrast, is one of the most complete crosses left in Norfolk. There is no base or plinth - and may never have been - but there is a socket stone, a whole shaft, a (supposedly-restored) capital, and a head. According to Cozens-Hardy, it is said to have been moved about 400m from the west, from beside a track at the northern edge of the battlefield site. It now stands just within Heath Road, where it meets with the B1150 and that old track (TG2783928290.)

 

The pedestal has chamfered corners with stop-angles, 71cm square and 32cm visible above ground. The shaft is decorated with roll moulding, and is 29cm square at the bottom, retaining that shape as it tapers upwards. I couldn't get an accurate height measurement, but Historic England tells us that the shaft is about 4m high, on top of which is a quatrefoil capital with 'stacked' horizontal moulding 35cm high. The 60cm high head piece gives the cross an overall height of about 5.3m. Cozens-Hardy mentions a drawing of 1806 which shows that, although now very weathered, this head used to be the figure of Christ crucified.

     

North Walsham 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of Visit: 22/5/19.

"Stump Cross. By tradition dates from and marks the site of a battle in the Peasants Revolt 1381." Thus reads a small - and incorrect - plaque on the wall behind this 14th century socket stone with a small stub of shaft left in it, at TG2786129260. It sits beside the entrance to the water towers on the west side of the B1150, 1100m north of the previous cross. 71cm square at the bottom, the socket stone is 33cm high and has very worn stop-angles. The lead lining of the mortise hole is still just about visible, in which the 32cm square base of the shaft sits. Only 45cm of its length now exists, so weathered that it's hard to tell it once had an octagonal cross-section.

 

Until 1932 it was almost buried beneath soil and gravel, but it was uncovered in that year, cleaned up, and set on a substantial concrete plinth, only 14cm of which now shows above ground. The 1842 tithe award shows that the nearby field in which the water towers now stand was then called 'Stump Cross Piece', and Cozens-Hardy says it had a similar name on a map of 1742. From this point a footpath - once an old track - runs south-west then south towards the site of the 1381 battlefield. As it's well over a kilometre away, it's more likely that this was just a wayside cross, rather than anything to do with a commemoration of the battle.

     

Northwold 

(Complete but restored cross)
 

Date of visit: 3/9/18.

Northwold Cross stands in the north-west part of the village, beside the road called West End (TL7497097333.) It consists of a socket stone, shaft, capital and freestone step of the 14th century, on a 19th/20th century brick base, and with a 20th century cross on top. The sloping freestone step has a very worn moulded cornice, 22cm at its highest point, 1.37m square. Above it, the stop-angled socket stone is 73cm square and 60cm high. Made in one piece about 4m high of Barnack limestone, the square tapering shaft is 30cm across at the bottom, with roll-moulded corners, topped by an octagonal, slightly-restored capital. In Cozens-Hardy's time there was a weathervane on top instead of a cross. At least until the 1970s the brick base was much smaller and rougher, being no wider than the freestone step. Since then it has obviously been enlarged and re-faced with new brick. The whole thing stands about 6.5m high within a gravel-filled kerb at the edge of the road.

     

North Wootton 

(Site of cross)
  OS maps published between 1905 and 1907 - but not before or since - mark 'Stone Cross (rems of)' at TF6404724372, in the grounds of North Wootton Lodge, a little NNE of the church. Enquiries in 1950 revealed no trace of any cross, and no knowledge of it by the Lodge owners, who had lived there for 20 years. It seems likely that this was the socket stone once said to have been in the churchyard at Roydon, and brought here by the Rev. Henry Suckling when he moved to Wootton in 1881. Suckling died in 1907, after which the cross was evidently moved to Congham.
   

NORWICH

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