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

  Norfolk Cross Survey: Contents

The Survey Parish by Parish: S - T

(Salle to Terrington St. John)

     

Salle 

(Documented record of cross)

 

The will of Roger Glover of Salle, dating from somewhere between 1469 and 1503, makes a bequest that mentions "the cross of Northgate on Marshgreen".1 Marshgreen was another name for Mersegate or Marshgate Green in the north-east of the parish, but the exact location is unknown.

 

1. NRO: ANW, will register, Fuller alias Roper, fo. 80

     

Salthouse 

(Site of cross)

 

In 1648-9 John Hunt carried out a survey, to which he gave the snappy title: "The Description of Salthouse and Kelling Marishes in the County of Norff: as they were Imbanked and Divided into Common and Severall inclosures".1 Hunt's map that accompanies the survey shows a cross in the middle of The Green (TG07454386.) This is a very large triangle of grass that still exists where Purdy Street meets the A149 Coast Road, next to the Dun Cow Inn. In the early 1930s Cozens-Hardy saw what he described as "a long piece of dressed stone" laying beside the road on the west side of The Green. He thought this might have been part of a stepped base for the cross, but when it was looked for in 1980, there was no sign of it.

 

1. NRO: MC 2443/1

     

Salthouse 

(Site of cross)

 

On the same 1648-9 map mentioned above, a second cross is shown in the middle of another triangular green some distance to the east of the first one, but again on the Coast Road. Cozens-Hardy said this was where the lane from the church - a track called Grouts Lane - meets that road (TG07624387), but I think that he was in error.

 

I've studied the map carefully, along with other old maps and the landscape itself, and I'm certain that the cross as shown was actually at the north end of Cross Street, which is another 110m further east along the Coast Road at TG07734384. To begin with, on Hunt's map, the cross is shown as being much further to the east than Grout's Lane, with the church roughly equidistant between the two crosses. Then there's the name 'Cross Street' itself - which I would have thought is somewhat of a clue. And at the meeting of Cross Street with the Coast Road there actually is the vestigial remnant of such a triangular green as shown on the map - which there isn't at the Grouts Lane junction. A final piece of evidence arises with the next item in this survey.

     

Salthouse 

(Remains of cross)

 

Along Cross Street, and close to the church, is the Manor House. In the garden here (TG07664363) Cozens-Hardy found the socket stone of a medieval cross which he said was 94cm square and 38cm high. It had chamfered edges, and the mortise hole had been hollowed out for use as a flower planter. In 1980 a field investigator reported that the pedestal had stop-angles, the mortise hole was circular and about 80cm in diameter, and that other pieces of stonework were laying around the garden, some possibly from the nearby church.

 

In 1980, the house-owner at the time actually suggested that this cross may have stood a little further south at the junction of Cross Street and Market Lane, but this was dismissed as the cross was not shown on the 1649 map. Since none of the village south of the church is shown, that hardly seems a valid objection. I would have thought it far more likely that the pedestal belongs to the cross mentioned in the previous entry, at the north end of Cross Street.

     

Sandringham 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 17/8/18.

Butler's Cross is depicted on a 1588 map as standing on a stepped plinth. Now it consists only of a socket stone and a tiny nub of shaft, on a low platform of modern bricks with a stone kerb around it. This platform is only about 20cm high, and 1.5m square. The pedestal has the usual stop-angles, but is badly worn and measures 66cm square, 50cm high. A deep vertical groove disfigures its eastern face. The 21cm stub of stone left in the mortise hole might not even be a fragment of the shaft - it could just be a tenon onto which the shaft would have fitted.

 

Surrounded by a low rusty fence, it can be found at TF6759026384, on a little grassy triangle where the B1439 meets the A149. A track also runs west from here, towards the former village of Babingley. Butler's Cross marked the boundary of 'Rising Chace', a private hunting ground owned by the castle at Rising. The name is said to derive from the de Boteler family who, from the mid-13th century, held West Hall manor at Babingley.

     

Sandringham 

(Possible cross site)
 

Perambulations of the boundaries of Castle Rising Chase in both 16791 and 18162 mention a 'Babingley Cross' on a different part of the bounds to Butler's Cross, but nobody seems to know precisely what or where this was. From the descriptions, I would place it somewhere west of Butler's Cross, but east of the ruins of St Felix's church. As it doesn't appear on the 1588 map, it's quite possible that, whatever it was, it could actually have been a post-medieval feature.

 

1. NRO: BL/CR 3

2. NRO: HOW 500-502, 347X1

     

Saxlingham Nethergate 

(Documented record of cross)
 

In the records of Netherhall manor in this parish is a 1558 grant of land "by John Tuttell at the Crosse of Saxlingham and William his son to John Warden jun".1 The location of this cross is uncertain, but in the heart of the village is a small triangular green upon which the War Memorial stands. This is an unusual structure, built in 1921 to resemble the 14th century market cross at Castle Combe in Wiltshire. The green used to be called Timber Hill, probably due to the presence there of several saw-pits (one of which was still marked on the OS 25" map of 1882.) It sits at the meeting of four roads: Church Hill, The Street, Pitt's Hill and Wash Lane (now no more than a footpath.) Whilst checking out the 1841 tithe map for Saxlingham2 I noticed the small image of an upright cross near the northern end of the green, which would have been at approx. TM2297897107. It's close to where a guide post is marked on the 1882 map - but while wayside crosses are sometimes shown, I have never yet encountered a tithe map that showed such a minor object as a guide post.

 

1. NRO: ANW/S 2/7

2. Nat Arch, Kew: IR 30/23/475

     

Scole 

(Documented record of cross)
  The isolated and redundant St. Andrew's church at Frenze (TM13548042) is virtually all that remains of the village of that name, north-west of Scole. Tom Martin, in his 'Church Notes' of about 1740, mentions a 'stump cross' by the corner of the chancel. Unfortunately the chancel had become derelict by 1827, and was demolished. I would guess that the cross disappeared at that time, as the churchyard has been virtually cleared out, and there is no sign of it now.
     

Scottow 

(Documented record of cross)
 

Somewhere in Scottow parish was the lost hamlet of Birkeley. It was documented as far back as 1130, but no one knows where it was situated. In the Cartulary of St. Benet of Hulme Abbey1 Sandred found a reference to 'le Byrkelecrouche' dating to 1347.2 'Crouche' is a Middle English version of 'cross', and as has been said previously, until the late 14th century 'cross' only ever had the religious meaning of 'crucifix'. So, wherever Birkeley was, it certainly had a freestanding cross - although both are now lost to history.

 

1. British Library: Cotton MS Galba E II

2. Karl Inge Sandred: 'The Place-Names of Norfolk' (English Place-Name Society, 2002), Part 3, p.100.

     

Sculthorpe 

(Documented record of cross)
 

About 400m south-west of Sculthorpe church was an area named on Bryant's 1826 map of Norfolk as 'Cross Green' (TF896317.) This was apparently a small common before the enclosure award of 1830. The 'drags' or field books of Sculthorpe in the 17th century record that there was a wayside cross here, and in the 1838 tithe award a field at this location was still called 'Cross Green Pasture'.1 Cozens-Hardy couldn't find any remains.

 

1. Nat Arch, Kew: IR 29/23/481

     

Sea Palling 

(Documented record of cross)
 

A 1542 lease1 referred to under Horsey mentions a right of "wreck of sea from tree called the mortree between Eccles and Palling to a cross in Palling and from the cross to Wynkyll dike." ('Wreck of sea' means goods from a shipwreck that wash to shore. 'Wynkyll dike' was the Hundred Stream.) The Cartulary of St. Benet of Hulme Abbey2 contains a reference to the "crucem de Palling" in 1233, and Blomefield cites another agreement about wreck of sea in 1261 "between Palling Cross and Wenkell Ditch".3 Cozens-Hardy quotes from "a certain indenture" in which, in 1271, the 'mortree' or 'marktree' was set where "the cross of Palling" was located. A final reference can be found in a legal action from c.1286-7 in which "The Abbot of Hulm claims wreck from Palyng Cross to the bounds of Yarmouth".4

 

While the 'Headless Cross' at Horsey seems to have been a purely secular boundary marker, it's likely that Palling Cross was set up by the abbey of St. Benet's - lords of Palling manor - for religious purposes. It apparently stood near a lost site called 'Chuckishill', somewhere near the boundary between Sea Palling and the lost village of Eccles. Like that settlement, the site of the cross is probably now beneath the sea.

 

1. NRO: NAS 1/1/12/Palling/10

2. British Library: Cotton MS Galba E II

3. Blomefield: Vol.9 (1808), p.334.

4. NRO: COL 8/91(a)

     

Sedgeford 

(Documented record of cross)
 

An estate map of Sedgeford made by John Fisher in 1631 shows 'Stump Cross' on the boundary with Ringstead.1 It stood at TF70463868, on the eastern edge of Catlane Wood. Although this is now an isolated position out in the fields, at the time of Fisher's survey a track ran south-west past this point, while another road approached it running north from the western end of Sedgeford village. 'Stump Crosse' is also mentioned in the Sedgeford Rental of 1634.2

 

1. NRO: LEST/OC 1

2. NRO: LEST/BK 7

     

Sedgeford 

(Site of cross)
 

'Fring Cross' appears on a parish map of Snettisham dating from about 1625.1 Fisher's estate map of 1631 referenced above also shows 'Fringe Cross' as an extant structure, on a stepped base. This was at TF72753559, where Peddar's Way - here a muddy track - crosses Fring Road. It stood right on the parish boundary between Fring and Sedgeford, and next to what used to be a ford over the Heacham River. It also appears as a field name close by in the 1840 tithe awards for both parishes, while the 1797 Sedgeford enclosure award2 mentions Peddar's Way as a public road "as far as the rivulet near a place called Fring Cross." Cozens-Hardy thought that it might now be one of the four crosses near the entrance to Hillington Park.

 

1. NRO: LEST/OB 4/1

2. NRO: PD 601/150

     

Sheringham 

(Documented record of cross)
 

In the 1508 will of Richard Spicer or Spycer of Sheringham1 he makes a bequest "To the reparation of the cross in the stret".2 I can find nothing further about this, but as there seems to be no record of a market cross in the town, I can only assume this to be a cross of the wayside or 'village' variety.

 

1. NRO: ANF will register Liber 2 (Shaw) fo. 76

2. Walter Rye: 'Some rough materials for a history of the hundred of North Erpingham in the county of Norfolk', part 3 (1889), p.630.

     

Shouldham 

(Documented record of cross)
 

The 14th century charters of Shouldham record several instances of feoffment (the giving of freehold land in exchange for service) where the existence of a cross is indicated. The earliest dates to around 1300, where some arable land is described as "at Wynnescros".1 In 13372 and 13443 it is written as "at Wynescros." By 1386 a plot of land is simply described as lying "at le Cros".4 Whether this is the same cross as in the previous instances is uncertain, but the early dates ensure that a physical freestanding cross is being referred to, rather than a crossroads. Indeed, a number of the village charters specifically refer to a crossroads - apparently the only one in the parish - by a Middle English word with multiple variants. For example, in 1330 we have land "at Gatechodelis." In 1349 it is "at Legateschodel", and in 1357 they speak of "le Gate Shedelis." Both the cross and this crossroads are stated as being in Shouldham's 'South Field'; indeed, the context of the 1337 reference leads me to think that 'Wynescros' may have been on or near the boundary with Fincham. Perhaps at the junction where Gallow Lane crosses Marham Road (TF68990743)?

 

1. NRO: HARE 2584, 198X2

2. NRO: HARE 1340, 191X4

3. NRO: HARE 2647, 198X3

4. NRO: HARE 2684, 198X3

     

Shropham 

(Documented record of cross)
 

In 1285 a grant was made to William Wawepol (Walpole) "of tenements in Scropham, including half foldcourse abutting on way from church of St Peter to the cross called Hodis".1 Now, St. Peter's stands beside Church Road, which runs roughly north to south from Shropham village towards Larling. But that road apparently wasn't laid out until the enclosure of 1801, where it is labelled 'First Road'. Faden's map of 1797 shows the only route to the church as a fairly short lane beginning on Hargham Road, but the enclosure map shows it continuing northward, and calls it simply 'An Old Road'.2 The cross therefore could have been at the former crossroads north of the church on Hargham Road, perhaps at about TL98589310.

 

The unusual name of the cross makes me speculate that perhaps it was formed in the same way as 'Sparkyscros' at Necton or 'Wrytyscrosse' at Barton Bendish. In other words, perhaps Hodis Cross could derive from 'Hode-his-cross'? I haven't yet found anyone with the surname Hode in medieval Shropham, but it was certainly known in Norfolk in the 13th century, meaning 'maker of hoods'.

 

1. NRO: BL/O/O/8

2. NRO: PD 20/100

     

Snetterton 

(Site of cross)
 

The site of this cross is now beneath the Snetterton motor racing circuit. A survey of the former parish of Hargham, which stretched down to Snetterton Heath, was drawn up by William Hayward in 1629.1 The detailed map that accompanies it shows a wayside cross laying on its side at about TM00018925, just north of the boundary between Snetterton and Eccles (now Quidenham parish.) It lay beside Sandy Lane - now a track that ends at the western edge of the circuit - which was a road from Larlingford Bridge heading east through the heath to Eccles and beyond. Another road ended here coming south-west from the main Thetford to Norwich road.

 

1. NRO: MC 168/1/1-2

     

Snetterton 

(Site of cross)
  Just over ¾ mile west of the previous cross was another, shown on the same 1629 map. It stood in the area of TL986891, just north-east of Larlingford Bridge, in the angle between the river Thet and the old Snetterton to Larlingford Road known as Buckenham Way.
     

Snetterton 

(Site of cross)
 

Once there was a cross at TM00929070, on a turn of the boundary between Snetterton and the old parish of Hargham. Originally it was just off the west side of the Thetford to Norwich road at a lost crossroads; now, the site is beneath the A11. 'Stone Cross (remains of)' was still shown on OS maps up to about 1905. It was variously named Eashby or Ashby Cross in the 1629 survey of Hargham manor, and as Eshby Cross on the map. It seems to have been named after the lost village of Ashby ('Essebeia') which once existed in Snetterton parish, presumably close to this cross and the nearby - now vanished - Ashby Mere. Because it doesn't appear on a map of 1681, it has been suggested that it was moved to the crossroads at Hargham, and became known as the 'Cockcrow Stone' (see under Quidenham.) However, Eshby Cross does appear in the 1681 'Field Book of Hargham and Snetterton' at this location.1

 

1. A.J. Davison: 'Some Aspects of the Agrarian History of Hargham and Snetterton as Revealed in the Buxton MSS' in 'Norfolk Archaeology' Vol. 35, Part 3 (1972), p.340-1.

     

Snettisham 

(Site of cross)
 

Dawson Turner's illustrations for an edition of Blomefield's history include a pre-1841 drawing made in Snettisham by his daughter Harriet Gunn, titled "Cross. Stump of one in the parish".1 According to Cozens-Hardy the drawing shows a cross "not of ordinary form, but with four steps as the base and the stump of a cross on top", suggesting that there was no socket stone. In addition, the base was an incomplete circle, implying that it was built up against something.

 

In 1926 the Snettisham postmaster told Cozens-Hardy that he thought there had once been a cross on the green opposite the post office. No.27 Lynn Road now occupies the site of that post office, at the north end of the market place. That presumably explains why this is usually referred to as a market cross. A small patch of green still survives, and it's possible the cross may have stood roughly where the village sign is today (TF6849434275.) In 1845 it's recorded that "some remains of the ancient market-cross are still to be seen in the village".2

 

Although these remains no longer exist in Snettisham, local 'legend' used to claim that this cross is now the one on The Green at Hunstanton, 'purloined' by Henry Styleman le Strange, who was lord of both manors. This theory hasn't entirely gone away, as there was a reader's letter in the 'Lynn News' in September 2018 demanding the return to Snettisham of their cross. There's no doubt, however, that these were two entirely different objects, for the following reasons: Firstly, there already existed a 'stump cross' at Old Hunstanton, near the Hall. Secondly, the two crosses were drawn separately by Harriet Gunn, in both villages. Thirdly, the Snettisham cross seems not to have had a socket stone, unlike the one at Hunstanton. And fourthly, a comparison of the Gunn drawings by a former advocate of the theory convinced him that the two crosses were, after all, not one and the same.3

 

1. Dawson Turner: 'Catalogue of Engravings, Etchings etc...inserted in a copy of Blomefield's History' (1841), p.167.

2. Samuel Lewis (ed.): 'A Topographical Dictionary of England' Vol.4 (5th edition,  1845),p.129.

3. Letters from John Bingham to Edwin Rose (Norfolk Museums Service), 26/10/1980, 3/2/1981 (kindly supplied by Norfolk County Council, Historic Environment Record.)

     

South Acre 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 14/8/18.

The entrance into St. George's churchyard is on the north side, and only a few metres in beside the path are the remains of a 14th or 15th century limestone cross (TF8100214347.) The socket stone is missing, so the shaft has been cemented into a plain lower stage of the base, which is 60cm x 74cm, and 25cm high. Only 87cm of that shaft survives, 24cm x 22cm square at the bottom, chamfered to become octagonal above. It's hard to tell now because of the weathering and modern cement repairs, but apparently the sides of the shaft are alternately flat and concave. The hole that would have taken the original pedestal is approximately 50cm x 47cm. This cross may not be in its original location within the churchyard.

     

South Creake 

(Site of cross)
 

Nicola Whyte's book1 reproduces a crude sketch of part of South Creake in the 16th century, which depicts a cross on a stepped base in the middle of the common. This would have been on Southgate Common, about 1½ miles SSE of the main village. A precise location is impossible to pin down. Unfortunately I haven't been able to consult the original map, as Whyte's National Archives reference yields no results. It's possible that it forms part of an early field book of the manor.

 

1. Nicola Whyte: 'Inhabiting the Landscape', (Windgather Press, 2008), p.89.

     

South Creake 

(Site of cross)
 

There is a far more detailed map of the western part of South Creake parish, dated to c.1630, possibly by the eminent cartographer William Hayward.1 On it a cross pattée symbol is shown, along with the name 'Barwick Cross'. This stood nearly two miles west of the village at approx. TF82623608, on the parish boundary with Barwick, in the south-west angle of a staggered crossroads. The roads still exist as slightly-hollow green lanes with wide grassy verges, typical of medieval drovers' roads through the extensive sheep-grazing fields of the area. That coming from the south is now called Jack's Lane (then Burnham Gate), while Stanho Gate (now unnamed) comes west from Creake village, and originally continued on to the site of the lost village of Barwick.

 

1. NRO: MC 691/1

     

Southery 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 14/9/19.

A 15th century pedestal sits beside the path to the porch on the north side at the 'new' church of St. Mary (TL6218994616.) It was built in 1858, replacing the 15th century St. Mary's which sits in ivy-shrouded, crumbling ruins 130m away at TL6226594718, and whose churchyard was the original home of the cross. This is a fairly standard socket stone 72cm square and 60cm high with stop-angles and a 30cm square mortise hole. The only thing slightly out of the ordinary is that it has an armorial shield carved on three of its faces.

     

Southrepps 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 22/5/19.

When I visited this cross back in the 1970s all that you could see was a finger of stone poking out of the wild grass, in the south-east angle of the crossroads at TG2622836426. In 1999-2000 it was rescued from its obscurity and placed on a plinth of brick and cobbles very close to its original position. Until 1932 all that was known was the name 'Stump Cross' on old maps at this junction, the meeting of Gimingham Road, Pit Street and Spring Lane. But in that year the socket stone was uncovered here during road-widening work, while the stump of the shaft was found in the rectory garden at Trunch - though how they knew the latter came from Southrepps, I don't know. By 1934, the County Council had brought the parts back together and set them on a simple stone plinth.

 

The socket stone, which rises in two stages, measures 59cm square below and 48cm above, 43cm high overall. It has chamfered corners but no stop-angles. It sits on a modern slab 91cm square and 7cm high, and this in turn stands on the 1930s plinth, which is 1.62m square, 42cm high. The shaft has a mortise hole in its top surface, is 27cm square at the bottom, and becomes octagonal as it rises to a height of 97cm.

 

While most sources say it was a marker on a pilgrimage route to Bromholm Priory at Bacton, I've found an article which states confidently that it dates from c.1366 and marked a manor belonging to the Poor Clare nunnery at Bruisyard in Suffolk.1 Actually, 1366 is when the nunnery was founded; the land here was granted to the abbess in 1377. This idea is possible of course, although we don't know where the nunnery land was; but Gimingham Road was a clear route to Bacton, and there are or were several other crosses known along that course to the Holy Rood of Bromholm.

 

1. County News section in The Milestone Society newsletter 25 (July 2013), p.13.

     

Southrepps 

(Possible cross site)
 

From the Court Rolls, we learn that at a court held at Gimingham in 1493, one of the local misdemeanours presented by the Southrepps jury was that "Robert Brese ploughed up with his plough at Crabbescrosse, from le Crossehill, so adding to his land".1 Sandred uses the same source, and records these as specific places, not field names. Try as I might, I haven't been able to locate either 'Crabbescrosse' or 'le Crossehill', but taken together, I feel that these may indicate an actual cross rather than a crossroads.

 

1. Christobel M. Hoare: 'The History of an East Anglian Soke' (Beds Times Publishing, 1918), p.221.

     

South Wootton 

(Possible cross site)
 

A conveyance of 1637 saw "Little Bluntes lands alias Crosse Close" change hands between Arthur Capell and Edmund Hamond.1 Although this is a comparatively late reference, there are several factors that convince me of an actual cross having stood nearby. 'Cross Close' still existed as a plot of more than nine acres on the 1844 tithe map, on the east side of Castle Rising Road, and the north of Grimston Road.2 Now covered in housing, its south-west corner was where those two roads met, along with Wootton Road and Low Road. Because of a realignment of the roads, the actual junction would have been a little further east than today, at about TF64582239. Faden's 1797 map of Norfolk actually shows this as a three-ways, as Low Road was then no more than a driftway to the marshes, its course lost at the nearby village green.

 

Without an actual crossroads, the name 'Cross Close' suggests rather a freestanding cross at the junction. Here also the boundary between South Wootton and the medieval parish of Gaywood ran. In addition, such a cross at this location would have been on what the 1588 map of 'Castle Rising Chace' shows as the road to Walsingham and its famous shrine.3 And finally, a dispute over the 'right of warren' in 1592/3 specifically mentions that upon the South Wootton boundary stood "a stonne lying in Walsingham Way".4 The 'stonne' may well have been the pedestal of the wayside cross that I strongly suspect once stood here.

 

1. NRO: BRA 984/1/1-22, 714X2

2. NRO: PD 615/26

3. NRO: BL 71

4. Nat Arch, Kew: E 134/34and35Eliz/Mich7

     

Sporle with Palgrave 

(Documented record of cross)
 

William Alpe lived and was buried at Little Dunham, a village just north-east of Sporle. In his will of 15301 he "Gave to 'reparation of the Crosse standyng in the highe waie ledyng from Sporle to Pargrave' five shilling".2 This was presumably a road - now vanished - across the common between Sporle and the village of Great Palgrave, a deserted hamlet that survived until the 15th century.

 

1. NRO: NCC will register Alpe 1

2. G.A. Carthew: 'The Hundred of Launditch and Deanery of Brisley' Part 3 (1879), p.92.

     

Sprowston 

(Possible remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 19/10/18.

The only information I had about this came from the NHER entry (No.8138) on the church of St. Mary & St. Margaret: "Fragment of possible cross in graveyard." What I found when I visited was a small block of stone 28cm x 28cm x 23cm, which had an arched recess on three sides, and an 'offset' or ledge on the fourth. Further information from an unpublished building report of 1993 confirmed that I had located the correct object.1 There, it was described as being of limestone and possibly part of a cross, but it also could be part of a roof finial. It currently sits on the surface at TG2493812532, in the angle between the nave and the north-west side of the tower.

 

1. Report kindly supplied by Norfolk County Council, Historic Environment Record.

     

Stanhoe 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 17/8/18.

All that remains of Stanhoe Cross is the flint rubble core of the base, mortared together as a single block, roughly 1.45m in diameter and 1.22m high. A drawing of 1830 by Miles Edmund Cotman1 shows that it was once encased within an octagonal base of four steps, with an octagonal socket stone on top. Over time the stones were stripped away, and some apparently built into cottages and walls around the village. In April 2001 the upper surface was refurbished and a modern stone cross set on top.

 

It stands at the north end of Cross Lane (formerly Petergate) at the junction with Docking Road, at TF8046137031. A map of Stanhoe by Thomas Waterman shows the cross in this same position in 1639.2 Then, it was more like a crossroads, with Docking Road - then Northgatestreet - being joined close by from the north by a lane now called Station Road. As per usual for north Norfolk, Stanhoe Cross is said to have been on a pilgrimage route to Walsingham (for those coming from Hunstanton) - although an actual road known as 'Walsingham Way' passed more than a kilometre to the south.

 

1. Norwich Castle Museum: NWHCM  1951.235.702.B32

2. NRO: MF/RO 207/1

     

Stanhoe 

(Site of cross)
 

The same 1639 map mentioned above shows a second cross in Stanhoe, 250m away at the south end of Cross Lane (TF8062036817.) This was at the junction with Bircham Road, then known as the King's Way. The construction date of neither cross has been determined, but it may have been quite early, if the presence in the village of 'William ad Crucem' in title deeds of 1291 and 1318 is to be taken as evidence.1

 

1. NRO: BL/MD 3

     

Stibbard 

(Documented record of cross)
 

A 'demise' - a property transfer by will or lease - of June 17th 1454 speaks of "two pieces computed for 4½ acres in Stibbard in furlongs called Hermer and Pyppes near path to a certain cross, lately held in villeinage of fee and demesne called Chaumpeneys in Stibbard and Testerton".1 The location is unknown.

 

1. NRO: BL/MD 43/7

     

Stiffkey 

(Remains of cross - now lost)
  A 1982 report by Edwin Rose in the NHER (No.1883) stated that a "cross from elsewhere" once lay within the walled gardens of 16th century Stiffkey Old hall (TF97434294.) Whether this was a pedestal, a shaft, or both I don't know, and it would seem that it's probably no longer there.
     

Stiffkey 

(Possible remains of cross)
  Another 16th century building in the village, Great Yard House in Wells Road (TF9707243072), is said to have had the possible remnant of a cross in its garden. From information given to Edwin Rose (NHER No.12744), it was apparently found there in the 1970s, but no more recent detail is available. This was suggested by the home-owner to be the base of a cross, being an octagonal stone 60cm deep and 1.8m across, with two corners cut off. Making it less likely to be such a base was the central hole "with marks of iron."
     

Stiffkey 

(Possible remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 3/10/18.

Close to the western porch buttress in the churchyard at St. John's, (TF9746543004), is another odd object that seems to me an unlikely socket stone. Again there is a note from Edwin Rose in the NHER entry (No.1887) dated 2007, where he states "The base of the village cross, a medieval stone polygon, is now in the churchyard." There is no mention of it in notes prior to that date, which implies that it had recently been placed there, but I can find no other reference to any 'village cross' in Stiffkey.

 

The whole thing is rather crude and asymmetrical, and I have my doubts that it ever housed a cross. For one thing, the mortise hole is circular and only 18cm in diameter. The lead lining is still visible so it once held something, but a stone cross shaft seems improbable. Although the top surface is very weathered and damaged, enough remains to show that it may originally have been octagonal. From one edge to the other it's 58cm across, and measures 28cm high. However, below it has six sides, two of which are longer than the others. There are no traces of stop-angles, or any other decoration.

     

Stockton 

(Possible remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 8/5/18.

A pair of objects here, sitting either side of the porch entrance to St. Michael's church (TM3876694112.) One or both are presumably what the NHER refers to when it records a 'cross base' surviving outside the porch (No.10692.) Once again it's hard to see either of these as any part of a medieval cross. To the left of the door is an irregular slab of stone measuring approximately 71cm x 64cm x 20cm high, but it's unworked, and might just be a glacial erratic. To the right is a more substantial block 60cm x 42cm x 38cm high at its highest remaining point. This at least seems to have been shaped, but the upper surface is riven, and what's left shows no hint of anything that might have been a socket or stop-angle.

 

Despite the current appearance of these stones, it's tempting to speculate that they may once have formed some part of Stockton Cross, which I believe stood a mile and a half away at the former crossroads at Gillingham.

     

Stody 

(Possible remains of cross)

 

Date of visit: 16/7/19.

About half-way up the west face of the 12th century tower of St. Lawrence's church at Hunworth (TG0647635490) is a narrow slit window. Inset just below it is what Historic England calls - without giving any further detail - "a small stone Celtic cross." Notes inside the church call it a Saxon cross, but I've been unable to find any other reference to it anywhere. It's also of a form for which I can't find any likeness. It is clearly of the wheel-headed variety, but with a splay-armed cross (alisée pattée-style) in relief against the wheel, as well as the stubs of vertical and horizontal arms projecting from the wheel rim itself. A short section of integral shaft also survives. It's so simplistic in form in comparison with other known cross-heads, that I wonder if it isn't a late, locally-made imitation. Small it certainly is, so could only have been part of a grave-marker rather than a tall freestanding cross.

     

Stow Bedon 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 18/7/18.

The socket stone of the churchyard cross here is currently just to the left of the south porch, at St. Margaret's church, Great Breckles (TL9583194571.) In about 1740 Tom Martin simply recorded "crosse in ye churchyard." By 1910 it was "near the south wall of the nave".1 When Cozens-Hardy saw it in the 1930s, it was on the north side of the church. He compared it to the one at Croxton, as it appeared to be a pedestal hollowed out to make it into a font. The comparison is an apt one, as they are the exact same size - 77cm square, 40cm high - both have stop-angles, both have drainage holes, and the mortise hole of each has indeed been scooped out. The one here at Breckles is now in use as a planter.

 

1. Charles Kent: 'The Land of the Babes in the Wood' (Jarrold & Sons, 1910), p.59.

 

   

Swaffham 

(Documented record of cross)
 

According to Cozens-Hardy, the 1454 Black Book of Swaffham1 says that four acres of church land in Swaffham's 'west field' are described as being "non multum distant a Marham Crosse." This translates as "not far distant from Marham Cross." He couldn't trace it any further, but I think that I can.

 

I found a mention in the 'Norfolk Chronicle' of July 1st 1820 of "Marham Cross (on the Lynn road, near the Little Thorns)." Lynn Road has been supplanted by the A47 running west from Swaffham. Earlier it was known as Marham Way, as it branched off and headed to that village across the heath. Little Thorn(e)s - also known as Little Friars' Thornes or Little Grey Friars' Thornes - is a farm just north of the road, which despite the name has no religious connotations. Great Friars' Thornes, which is further to the north-west, was a manor dating back to at least the 16th century (and once wrongly thought to have housed a 12th century monastic hospice); but Little Thornes merely echoes the name and seems to be no older than the 1700s.

 

In the 1840 tithe award for Swaffham, fields 1075-1077 are named 'Marham Cross Field'.2 These were on the south side of the road, just west of the driftway leading to Little Thornes. This would seem to place the cross in the area of TF797095, perhaps close to the farm entrance.

 

Interesting but perhaps unrelated is a snippet from Blomefield. When listing the rectors of a now-vanished church in Norwich, he mentions "1358, Stephen atte Crouch or at Cross of Marham".3

 

1. NRO: RYE 33 (original in Norwich Cathedral Library.)

2. Nat Arch, Kew: IR 29/23/539

3. Blomefield: Vol.4 (1806), p.375.

     

Swaffham 

(Site of cross)
 

The late Ben Ripper - barber, artist and local historian - had the notion that the name of White Cross Road in Swaffham might be named after a pagan prehistoric boulder that had been Christianised by having a wooden cross fitted onto it.1 It doesn't seem to have crossed his mind that it might simply be a medieval survival. This road - on old OS maps as Whitecross Lane - runs eastward from London Street to North Pickenham Road.

 

A 'covenant bond' between William Bulwer and Edward Bayfield shows that there was a White Cross Farm here as far back as 1716.2 Blomefield notes an inhabitant named 'Henry Atte Cross' in 1338, as well as his son 'John Atte-Cross' in 1381.3 Another document records a debtor here named 'John o' the Cross' in 1392.4 These surnames are suggestive without being confirmatory - but couldn't have been in reference to people who lived near the market cross, as that wasn't built until 1783.

 

In my view, confirmation of a cross can be found in Faden's Norfolk map of 1797. In addition to the main map of the county, he included several inset town plans. One is of Swaffham, which is the earliest known plan of the town. Right next to the junction of White Cross Road - which he doesn't name - with the main London Street, appear the words 'White Cross'. The smaller road broadened out at this point to make a triangular plain, where the cross probably once stood in the centre, at TF8207608571.

 

1. Ben Ripper: 'Ribbons from the Pedlar's Pack' (1979; 1st pub. by Quaker Press, 1972), p.180.

2. NRO: BUL 2/31, 604 x 9

3. Blomefield: Vol.6 (1807), p.202.

4. Nat Arch, Kew: C 241/193/15

     

Swafield 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 22/5/19.

Next to a tree on the left-hand side of the path a few metres into St. Nicholas' churchyard is a fairly standard socket stone with stop-angles, and the jagged stub of a shaft remaining in the mortise hole (TG2864533051.) It wasn't placed there, however, until 1964. It was apparently found during ploughing the previous November in a field a little south of the church. Basil Cozens-Hardy (then aged 79) visited the spot along with the local rector when the pedestal was still in the ground. A photograph of them taken at the time shows that the find spot was only just outside the churchyard and close to the field entrance, probably at about TG28673304.

 

A 27cm section of shaft and part of a capital were reportedly recovered at the same time, and sent to Norwich Castle Museum. The museum staff thought it a wayside cross that dated to c.1500, and "must have been quite elaborate", according to PastScape. They even suggested where it may have originally stood: about 1km north of the church, where a track called Craunching's Loke meets with North Walsham Road (TG28553400.) Given the location of its discovery, I'm more inclined to think it was once a churchyard cross. Cozens-Hardy concluded that it had been buried due to some 'ecclesiastical dispute'. Whatever the case, it had not simply been thrown haphazardly into a deep hole. Other photographs from the time of his visit suggest that it had been lowered carefully so that it sat right way up and level, and the tip of the shaft stub was only just below the modern surface.1 As he remarked himself, the pedestal - which he thought not to be of the usual Barnack limestone - had crisply cut edges and bore no signs of weathering whatsoever. In its present state, the socket stone measures 72cm x 66cm, with only 35cm now showing above ground, while the shaft is 26cm x 28cm, and 14cm high to its jagged tip.

 

1. NRO: MC 186/121, 649X1

     

Swafield 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 22/5/18.

A cross pedestal sits - obviously not in its original position - among trees on an earthen bank just on the right as you enter the churchyard at St. Giles', Bradfield, from the south (TG2679433275.) It's a normal socket stone with stop-angles, and the shaft has been sliced off flush with the surface. Cozens-Hardy could still see the lead lining around the edges of the 30cm square mortise hole, but I couldn't. The pedestal has been split in half horizontally - whether the substantial tree-root growing through it did the deed, or just took advantage of an existing break, I don't know. Both halves measure 72cm square, with the top section 22cm high and the bottom 25cm.

     

Swafield 

(Remains of cross)
  Only the ground floor of the - possibly 17th century - Swafield water mill survives, actually just into the parish of North Walsham (NHER No.6857.) The miller's house however still stands just across the boundary in Swafield. In a flower bed on private land between the two, at about TG28423198, the NHER entry records that there has been since at least 1947 a socket stone with stop-angles. It is apparently upside-down, and the bottom surface has been hollowed-out - presumably for use as a planter? No hint is given as to where it might have originated.
     

Taverham 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 8/5/18.

The head of a round-headed cross was found in recent times in the graveyard at St. Edmund's, and now sits on a windowsill on the south side in the church (TG16081381.) It probably dates from the Saxo-Norman period, i.e. just before/after the Conquest, as does the church. More recently some have tried to bring it into the life of Walstan, the local saint, who supposedly died in 1016, thinking that he might not only have seen the cross but prayed at it, but the timeline doesn't fit.

 

It measures 40cm in diameter, 9cm thick, and the obverse is undecorated. This raises the possibility that it might be a grave-marker rather than a tall churchyard cross. Although it has been broken off square at the bottom, the manner in which the incised decoration continues to curve down at least suggests to me that it terminated at an upright shaft rather than the shoulders of a grave slab. (This contrasts with a similar but cruder cross head at Hunston in Suffolk, with which the Taverham find has been compared.) The purpose of the central hole that has been drilled through isn't clear, but it's undoubtedly much later than the cross head itself.

     

Terrington St. Clement 

(Possible remains of cross)
 

Details of this are sparse, and I couldn't find an image of it anywhere, but at St. Clement's church (TF55192043) there is supposed to be a piece of Saxon stonework, "a fragment, probably of a sepulchral cross, with interlaced pattern of good design".1 Another source calls it late Saxon, "an architectural fragment with interlace design, probably from a cross, which is now built into the east wall of the chancel of the church".2 I have to say that I visited St. Clement's in September 2019, searched every wall both inside and outside the church, and failed to find any such carved masonry.

 

1. J.T. Seccombe: 'The Church of Terrington St. Clement' in 'Norfolk Archaeology' Vol.12 (Norfolk & Norwich Archaeological Society, 1895), p.1.

2. R.J. Silvester: 'The Fenland Project No.3: Marshland and the Nar Valley, Norfolk' (East Anglian Archaeology Report 45; Norfolk Museums Service 1988), p.37.

     

Terrington St. Clement 

(Remains of cross)
 

Lovell's Hall (TF54961954) is a 16th century house on the site of a medieval mansion. In the grounds, as reported by Cozens-Hardy, is a socket stone "of the ordinary size and shape", with about 90cm of the shaft left in place. He gives no further details, and it's hard to tell from his 1930s photo (left) whether or not the moss-covered pedestal has stop-angles, or whether the square-looking shaft is in fact chamfered to be octagonal. (Image from 'Norfolk Archaeology' Vol.25, by courtesy of www.nnas.info) As it obviously originated elsewhere, he suggested that it might come from a spot marked as 'Broken Cross' on the map, just over two miles to the south-west (TF52841693.)

 

At that point a greenway called Fenditch Lane is crossed by tracks named Brokencross Lane and St. John's West Gates. This crossways is shown at least as far back as Faden's map of 1797, and is named 'Broken Cross' on the 1840 tithe map.1 In addition, the parish boundary between St. Clement and Terrington St. John runs along Fenditch and through this spot. Locally, it's said that the name came about because of the crossways, and - more sarcastically - because the land there is so heavy with clay that it has 'broken' many men digging it. (But see also the following entry.)

 

1. Nat Arch, Kew: IR 30/23/552

     

Terrington St. Clement 

(Remains of crosses)
 

I've written a little about this cross elsewhere on this site, in the context of objects associated with the legends of the giant Tom Hickathrift. Cozens-Hardy describes only a "socket stone with other fragments piled upon it." This was in the grounds of Terrington Court - formerly Hamond Lodge - at TF53832012. According to his information, it originally came from the churchyard at Terrington St. John, given by the churchwarden to David Ward of Hamond Lodge in the mid-19th century. It was then known as 'Hickathrift's Candlestick'.

 

PastScape records the comments of a field investigator in 1978 that the socket stone was 50cm square and the same in height, that it was undecorated and sunken into the ground. He added that it was "surmounted by the tip of a broken pinnacle."

 

In 1980 I contacted Ian Clayton Caldwell, then owner of Terrington Court, and he sent me the photograph shown here. While the uppermost part is clearly the ornate capital of a medieval freestanding cross, the pedestal seems to be either hexagonal or octagonal, but is far too small to have supported a shaft with a capital of that size. Mr. Caldwell knew of no local name for the objects, adding that "One source says [they were moved] from the churchyard at Terrington St. John, and another source says that they were brought from the marshes having been a medieval mark at one end of a marsh crossing.”

 

The field investigator cited previously said that the socket stone "is not representative of churchyard crosses in this region of North Norfolk and it was probably a 16th/17th century boundary marker." These remarks make me wonder if in fact it wasn't this pedestal that came from Broken Cross - which is out in the marshes and on a boundary - not the object now at Lovell's Hall.

 

See also the next entry, concerning a fragment of cross still in Terrington St. John churchyard that might just be connected.

     

Terrington St. John 

(Remains of cross)
 

Date of visit: 15/8/18.

On the overgrown and neglected north side of St. John's church is another odd collection of stonework that doesn't fit together (TF5392415864.) The important piece is a 51cm long section of limestone cross-shaft, 29cm square at the bottom, then chamfered to become octagonal.

 

It is wedged into a pedestal that simply doesn't belong there. It's slightly splayed at the bottom, measuring 60cm square at ground level, then 52cm square at its full height of 31cm. Some of that height is missing as it slopes on one side, and there are no stop-angles, but it was clearly a piece of decorative masonry, with horizontal moulding still visible on three sides. Tom Martin mentioned in his early 18th century 'Church Notes' "a pedestal of a cross before ye church porch" - but neither this nor the present remains were there at the time Cozens-Hardy visited in the 1930s. To me, it's frankly too small to be the original socket stone for this shaft - if indeed it was ever intended for a cross at all. Perched loosely on top of the shaft is an octagonal ridged stone 'cap' of some kind, 23cm in diameter, with a narrow hole in the top. It seems unlikely to have been the capital of this or any other cross.

 

As already noted under Marshland St. James, the cross from the mound in that parish was supposed to have been brought here, to St. John's. But my own research into the legends of Tom Hickathrift has proven that it never went to either of the Terringtons. Bringing different strands together, I am now wondering if the ornate capital at Terrington Court may indeed have come from St. John's, and might in fact belong to the cross-shaft of which only a small section remains here.

     

Terrington St. John 

(Documented record of cross)
 

St. John's became a parish church in its own right in 1843; until then, it had always been regarded as a chapel of ease to, and dependent upon, the mother church of St. Clement.

The idea that it was built in 1423 at a cross called Peyke's Cross appeared in most county directories and histories of the 19th century. It has also survived in guides and online to this day, originating from the following passage in Blomefield:

 

"There is a chapel dedicated to St. John, belonging to this church [St. Clement's] where the vicar of Tyrington is to perform duty and service; and seems to be built in 1423, license being then granted to John Billing, vicar, to build a chapel in the lordship of the Bishop of Ely, at the cross called Peykes-cross, to the honour of God and the Holy Cross".1

 

However, St. John's was not built in 1423. According to National Heritage, it's of the early 14th century, remodelled in the 15th, but the tower is of the late 13th. The eminent historian David Dymond has said that it was "founded by the middle of the thirteenth century".2 I didn't know the basis for this statement until I realised that the answer is actually in Blomefield: "In the 5th [year] of this King [Henry III, 1220-1] there was an extent made of this manor [the Bishop of Ely's, in St. Clement], ...his bailiff might hold...the patronage of the church of Tyrington, and of the chapel of St. John's, towards the marsh".3 And as Silvester points out "there appears to be no firm evidence that the licensed chapel was dedicated to St. John, nor that Peykes Cross was located in the vicinity".4 The only certainty is that a structure known as Peyke's Cross existed in the early 15th century somewhere in the Terrington area.

 

1. Blomefield: Vol.9 (1808), p.97-8.

2. David Dymond: 'The Norfolk Landscape' (2nd edition, The Alastair Press, 1990), p.124.

3. Blomefield: Vol.9 (1808), p.90.

4. R.J. Silvester: 'The Fenland Project No.3: Marshland and the Nar Valley, Norfolk' (East Anglian Archaeology Report 45; Norfolk Museums Service 1988), p.44.

   

THETFORD

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