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

  Norfolk Cross Survey: Contents

The Survey Parish by Parish: H - I

(Hales to Itteringham)



(Possible cross site)

After mentioning actual medieval crosses at Chedgrave and Loddon, Alan Davison in his study of three Norfolk parishes seems to suggest Read's Cross (TM37559780) just north-west of Hales as the site of another, although he offers no more evidence than the name.1  It has the same name on Faden's 1797 map, although Bryant's of 1826 has it as 'Reid's Cross'. With Sandy Lane from the north, and Readscross Lane from the south, this is now just an unremarkable crossways on the busy A146. But, it is the ancient meeting point of the parishes of Hales, Loddon and Heckingham, and a prime location for a cross.


1. Alan Davison: 'The Evolution of Settlement in Three Parishes in South-East Norfolk' in East Anglian Archaeology Report No. 49 (Norfolk Archaeological Unit, 1990), p.52.



(Documented record of cross)

Date of visit: 8/8/19.

Hanworth Cross can be found at TG2112334859, on a grassy triangle at the crossing of the A140, a minor road called The Common, and a track heading eastwards. It is, however, simply a tall stone upright with cross-arms erected by Colonel Barclay of Hanworth Hall in 1933. But, it was placed on the site of a medieval cross marked in this position on Faden's map of 1797. It also gets a mention in a lease of 1688: "Lease...by Robert Doughty to John Browne and Robert Scoulden, of Lower Church close, 14 acres, in Hanworth with a pit at the west side, next to a common way to Hanworth field, west, and a lane from Hanworth church to Hanworth Cross, south".1 Embedded at the base of the modern upright, against its western face, is a block of worked stone that could conceivably be part of the medieval original - but, like the glacial rock against its southern side, it could simply be there to provide a secure footing for the pillar.


1. NRO: MC 1789/4, 809X7



(Doubtful remains of cross)

Date of visit: 22/6/20.

On the south side of North Walsham Road at TG3796731040 there is a mass of large flint cobbles mortared together, measuring 87cm x 95cm x 61cm. It stands on the verge against the wall of The Stables, an old barn converted into a holiday cottage. Within it are two sides of what appears to be a socket about 22cm square. Embedded beside it is a smaller lump, roughly 72cm x 43cm x 21cm.  About 30m west along the road, against the wall of another barn also belonging to Tithe Barn Farm, there is a more substantial chunk of cobbles measuring 1m x 90cm x 80cm. This has two more angles of a socket, 72cm x 52cm, faced with black stone. All have been there since at least the 1970s.


In the NHER entry (No.14149), Edwin Rose suggests that they might be parts of "one very large square socket", perhaps for a cross base or a gate post, but where they came from is unknown. I find it hard to imagine these objects as any part of a cross, and the socket seems too large for any normal post, so what they are remains a mystery.



(Possible cross site)

North of the village, between Danemoor Green and Blackwater Bridge, is a three-ways marked on modern maps as 'White Cross' (TG0413804993.) Both the 1st edition OS 6" map and Bryant's 1826 map name it as well. Cozens-Hardy suggests it as the site of a cross, but says "no remains are known to exist." Sandy Lane (locally known as Whitecross Road) heads north to meet with Church Road, and there seems no evidence that it was ever a crossroads - so why the name? In the 1841 tithe award1 field 316b on the south-western side of the junction is named as 'White Cross Close', and Whitecross Farm is not far away to the south. It was never on any parish boundary, but it does seem to have been on a turn of the boundary between Forehoe Hundred and Mitford Hundred-and-a-Half.


1. NRO: DN/TA 524



(Possible cross sites)

In the Court Rolls of Berdewell's Manor1 dating between 1483 and 1510, a medieval field named 'Thorpecrosse' is recorded at West Harling, but it's another 'Whitecrosse' that interests me. It also reappears much later as 'Whitecross Shift', in the Glebe Terriers of 1692 and 1725.2 I have no locations for these, but that name alone is sufficient for me to suspect a standing cross here.


1. A.J. Davison: 'West Harling: a Village and its Disappearance' in 'Norfolk Archaeology' Vol.37, Part 3 (1980), p.297, 302.

2. NRO: MC 2957, 1026X5



(Remains of cross)

Date of visit: 25/6/18.

Although Cozens-Hardy records Stantlin Cross as being in Brandiston, it's actually just within Haveringland parish (TG1451521005.) It appears with that name on a 1738 map - although pencilled in - of Brandiston town land,1 and as 'Stanton Cross' on a late 16th century map of Cawston parish.2 In a land grant of 1498 it is named as ' Standelyng Crosse'.3 There is an estate map of William Fellowes from 17774 that also shows it, but by then it was known as 'Stump Cross', the name that has stuck ever since. Nowadays, it stands on a piece of overgrown rough land on the west side of Haveringland Road, just north of the entrance to Stump Cross Farm. On the 1st edition OS 1" map of 1838-40, this spot was the meeting-place of five roads, and was probably then right on the boundary between Haveringland and Brandiston.


This cross doesn't have the standard square pedestal with stop-angles. Instead, the shaft just seems to flare out at the bottom and go straight into the ground. But when Cozens-Hardy saw it in the 1930s, he described the base as "octagonal shaped with moulded edges." Edwin Rose in the NHER entry (No.7464) relates that in Tom Martin's 'Church Notes' of the early 18th century there is a drawing of Stump Cross as "a leaning round shaft with tapering top broken off; formed of two sections, it resembles a chimney. He describes it as consisting of 'flint and cobblestones' and 'covered with honeycomb plaster'." Martin also says "There is a cross called Lance's Cross in this parish, query if this be it." Whether this was another object, or another name for, or corruption of, Stantlin Cross, no one knows.


The shaft as it is now measures 1.38m high overall. 40cm x 30cm in section at ground level, it tapers to 30cm x 23cm, and was originally roughly octagonal. But what we see today is the result of centuries of weathering, damage and repairs. Sometime before late 2013, the cross was knocked over and broken into three pieces. The parts were taken away for safekeeping, then cemented together and placed back in position in March 2016.


1. NRO: THS 1

2. NRO: MC 341/13, 706X4A

3. NRO: PHI 148, 577x2

4. NRO: NRS 21403



(Site of cross)

About half a mile south-west of the above Stump Cross is a crossroads where School Road and Clay Lane meet Haveringland Road. Until the 1950s, OS maps used to mark 'Bee Cross (remains of)' here; but by 1975 it had become 'Bee Cross (site of)'. The old maps show the cross at the centre of a grassy triangle in the middle of the crossroads (TG1515620474.) Alterations to the junction moved this location to the verge in the north-west angle, which is where Cozens-Hardy searched for it in the 1930s. According to what he found, "The remains of the rubble core of the base are just visible above the grass of the hillock by the roadside." While nothing is now visible, in June 2018 I used steel rods to probe the ground all along the raised verge and found a hard, stony layer about 30cm down in one spot. It's quite possible, though, that any remains are a little further back from the road, beneath a dense stand of nettles and brambles.


Cozens-Hardy had the notion that the cross once here had been moved along the road and was in fact the one now called Stump Cross. This is possible, although both crosses were marked on maps at the same time. The recorded name may be wrong, however. It seems likely that it should properly be called 'Bec Cross', as some of the lands of Mountjoy Priory Manor here were owned by Bec Abbey in Normandy. The error may have arisen from the 1839 Haveringland tithe map1, where fields 207 and 209 close to the crossroads seem to be named, respectively, 'Bee Cross Plantation' and 'Bee Cross Piece'. The handwriting on many such tithe awards can be hard to decipher, and here, 'e' and 'c' are hard to tell apart.


1. NRO: MS 7783



(Possible cross site)

In 1631 Alice le Strange commissioned John Fisher of Heacham to make a survey and map of the family estate.1 Although it centred on Sedgeford, the lands in question covered parts of the surrounding parishes as well. Two medieval crosses are marked on the map, Stump Cross and Fring Cross, both on the boundary of Sedgeford with Ringstead and Fring respectively. While studying this map I noticed a third possible cross, but the location is difficult to ascertain.


Confirmation of the name comes from the Sedgeford Rental of 16342, where 'Overcrowne Crosse' appears four times.3 Using the language of the land units in the Rental, it is located in Quarentine 14, in the Eighth Precinct. Unfortunately the map - actually in three parts - has no scale, and seems to be orientated slightly askew. The greatest impediment to precisely locating the cross is the fact that the landscape, including roads and field boundaries, has changed utterly since the 17th century. My best guess is that it was in the area of TF696354, in the extreme south-east of Heacham, where it intrudes into Sedgeford parish, between Eaton Drove and Sedgeford Road. Two tracks which no longer exist cross on the map close by, and for all I can tell it's exactly on the parish boundary. Of course, it's entirely possible that 'Overcrowne Cross' was a name applied to the meeting of tracks, and not a physical cross at all.




3. Elizabeth Griffiths (ed): 'Her Price is Above Pearls' (Norfolk Record Society Vol.79, 2015), p.260-1, 292, 305.



(Possible cross site)
  It's feasible - but as yet indeterminate - that North Beck Cross in Heckingham parish (at TM39579890) could have been the site of a wayside cross. On Beacon Hill, it's formed by the crossing of an unnamed north-south road by Norton Road and Loddon Road. Named as such as far back as 1616, it's close to the boundary with Norton Subcourse, and only two fields away, plot 32 in the 1838 tithe award is called 'Cross Close'.


(Remains of cross)

Date of visit: 22/5/19.

Just before entering Hemsby along Yarmouth Road from the south, on the right-hand side the grass verge widens slightly, sloping up to a thorny hedge and the fields of the Highfield Equestrian Centre beyond. On this verge - in danger of being swamped by the hedge - are the remains of a cross once reckoned to be late Saxon, but now dated to the 14th century (TG4972016691.) Although it's thought to be very nearly on its original site, it was moved a little in 1878, when the railway line was built and the road realigned.


Only the socket stone and a short length of shaft have survived. The former, with stop-angles, is 70cm square and 34cm above ground. The 68cm shaft is roughly square in section and measures 37cm x 35cm. Like that at Langley, each face of the shaft has a recessed panel with a relief carving on it. These are of a winged lion, an eagle, a winged bull and an angel, each holding a narrow banner, and believed to represent the four Evangelists. The same images appear on four sides of the 15th century font bowl in Hemsby's church of St. Mary.


Sandred1 found a 1422 reference in the Hemsby Field Book2 to 'Sellerys Cross', which he thought might refer to this object. The manor of Hemsby was held by the Cathedral Priory in Norwich, and the revenues given to the cellarer. He mentions "four crosses in Hemsby of which the stump of one survives, probably the Cellarer's."


This brings us to the Rev. William Gibson, rector of Hemsby in the early 19th century. In 1801 he wrote a letter to the Society of Antiquaries, which was published in their journal 'Archaeologia' in 1803.3 In it he describes this cross and two others in the village, as well as a possible fourth, which he theorised may have marked the boundary for sanctuary here. While it was common from Saxon times onward to seek asylum from the law within churches or their grounds, it took a royal charter to extend that sanctuary to a much larger area. The sanctuary laws were effectively ended by Henry VIII, and abolished altogether in 1623. The crosses described by Gibson bounded an area that covered much of the village's land, with the church at the northern edge. Unfortunately, the only place in Norfolk known to have had a chartered sanctuary law is Norwich; there is no evidence that tiny little Hemsby was privileged in that way.


The other two crosses - and a doubtful one - are recorded below.


1. Karl Inge Sandred: 'The Place-Names of Norfolk' (English Place-Name Society, 1996), Part 2, p.58.

2. NRO: MC 1866/10, 863X7

3. William Gibson: 'Observations on the Remains of a Stone Cross, or Pillar, at Hemsby...' in 'Archaeologia' (Society of Antiquaries, 1803), Vol.14, p.40-54.



(Remains of cross)

Date of visit: 8/5/18.

The second of Gibson's 'sanctuary crosses' can be found in the northern section of St. Mary's churchyard, about 20m north of the church (TG4945717410.) This is just a mossy and overgrown pedestal with stop-angles, 72cm square and 40cm high. The mortise hole is 34cm square. Although Cozens-Hardy thinks that this cross is not in situ, Gibson had the opposite opinion, stating that it "seems never to have been disturbed." In addition, he said that it "must have fronted what now is, and probably always has been, since the time of its inclosure, the entrance into the churchyard".1 Nowadays there are two completely different entrances, as the northern one current in Gibson's time seems to have been blocked up, probably when the war memorial was built close by in the early 1920s.


1. William Gibson: 'Observations on the Remains of a Stone Cross, or Pillar, at Hemsby...' in 'Archaeologia' (Society of Antiquaries, 1803), Vol.14, p.44.



(Remains of cross)

Date of visit: 8/5/18.

Just within the western entrance to the churchyard, beside the path, is the third of Hemsby's crosses (TG4938417377.) Again just a pedestal with stop-angles, this one is slightly smaller than the other two, being 69cm square and 35cm high. The mortise hole is 28cm x 28cm.


This is definitely not its original site, though it was once close by. Rev. Gibson noted that "Towards the west I had long noticed a large hewn stone, placed close against the end wall of a house, near the entrance into the churchyard from that quarter; and, upon enquiry, I found that it had lain there beyond the memory of the oldest inhabitant, without apparently having ever served to any material use".1 He found its dimensions to be very similar to the other crosses, and when he had it turned over, found stop-angles and a mortise hole. He left it where it was, and OS maps from 1885 to 1938 show 'Stone Cross (rems of)' at that very spot (TG4935517376.)


About "ten paces" away to the south was and is a junction where Pit Road meets The Street, and in the middle of that junction of what were then dirt roads Gibson found a "visible hollow" in the surface where he surmised the cross had originally stood (TG4935517365.) The house against which Gibson had found the "large hewn stone" was one of three cottages that were demolished in 1970. Two local people found it at that time, and it was moved into the churchyard where it now rests.


1. William Gibson: 'Observations on the Remains of a Stone Cross, or Pillar, at Hemsby...' in 'Archaeologia' (Society of Antiquaries, 1803), Vol.14, p.44.



(Doubtful remains of cross - now lost)

The 1879-86 1st edition OS 6" map shows 'Stone Cross (site of)' at TG4986217336, as do OS maps up to at least 1957. This spot is now within a holiday park, but used to be open ground, just south-west of the Beach Road/Back Market Lane/Kings Loke crossroads. However, the evidence for this comes solely from Rev. Gibson. He described finding here "a stone of considerable size, having close about it the appearance of other stones being sunk into the ground, and overgrown with weeds and grass, placed there seemingly, in a period now beyond the reach of tradition, with some particular design, but bearing no discernible marks of the tool, or of having made a part of either cross or pillar".1


Although he said it would be "rash" to claim that it was once such a cross, he was "much inclined to think it did." I tend towards the idea that this inclination was simply useful to support his 'sanctuary' theory. It's certainly not possible to conclude from his observation of what he called this "shapeless mass" that there was truly a fourth stone cross here.


1. William Gibson: 'Observations on the Remains of a Stone Cross, or Pillar, at Hemsby...' in 'Archaeologia' (Society of Antiquaries, 1803), Vol.14, p.45.



(Complete but restored cross)

In the centre of a wood called Icehouse Plantation in Heydon Park, about 400m north-west of Heydon Hall, is something which the Ordnance Survey persists in labelling 'obelisk' (TG1139227993.) As Cozens-Hardy found, it is in fact a medieval cross of which only most of the shaft and socket stone are original. The plinth on which it stands is 18th century, while the cross head and a section in the middle of the shaft are modern restorations. The pedestal has chamfered corner-stops, and the shaft is also chamfered. Apart from Cozens-Hardy saying that the shaft is 10 feet (3m) high, I can find no recorded dimensions for this cross, nor any photograph apart from his own from 1934 (from 'Norfolk Archaeology' Vol.25, by courtesy of www.nnas.info.) What is even more puzzling is that the National Heritage List for England - which only records it as an object within the Park - still refers to it as "a small early Victorian obelisk." Although the public are allowed to walk within the Park they have to follow the designated roads which go nowhere near the cross, so I was unable to see it when I visited in June 2019.


Cozens-Hardy thought that it had been removed in the 18th century from near Dalling Hall, about 2˝ miles to the west (see Wood Dalling.) But who moved it, exactly when, and why, is unknown. And why put it so far from Heydon Hall, in the middle of a plantation that was already there in the 1700s?



(Documented record of cross)
  In the 1730s Tom Martin noted in All Saints churchyard (TF82570001) "a little cross." He also mentioned an exceedingly large 'pedestal' - probably meaning a plinth or platform - 13 yards (11.8m) in diameter, on which there supposedly once stood a cross as tall as the church's nave. Considering the height of that nave, this seems very unlikely. No trace of either remains today.


(Documented record of cross)


During the Hilborough Inclosure of 1635, there was an official agreement "between Sir John Hare and the owners and tenants of Hilborough by which they ceded their commons, with exceptions including the site of the cross and the Camping Lays, in return for great cattle shack, coney and other rights".1


North of the church are the ruins of St. Margaret's chapel. This dates from the 13th century, but was later a stop for pilgrims on their way to Walsingham. This leads me to suspect that the cross may also have been on that route; and if I had to guess, I would place it on the road heading north towards Swaffham, perhaps at the crossroads at TF83260110.


1. NRO: HIL/3/16/1-41, 879X1



(Remains of crosses)

Date of visit: 17/9/18.

Dimensions: Cozens-Hardy.

Sir William John Henry Browne ffolkes (1786-1860) succeeded to the baronetcy of Hillington in 1821. Over the ensuing years he had the Hall rebuilt, added garden walls and gazebos, and in about 1830 had an imposing lodge built at the southern entrance to Hillington Park. On either side, at the end - and on top of - a curving wall, the remains of a 15th century  cross was placed on a tall square plinth of stone and flint, with two more opposite them on the other side of the A148 Lynn Road (TF71792555.) Bryant's map of 1826 (surveyed from 1824 onwards) has only a singular 'Cross' marked here, but Cozens-Hardy tells us of a sketch dated to 1825 in Turner's edition of Blomefield that shows four - although one of these was at the roadside, not on a plinth.


This last one - now in the north-west position - has the tallest remaining shaft, and is believed to have already been in Hillington. It's sometimes referred to as 'the village cross', and according to early OS maps, stood a little further east, at the junction of Lynn Road and Station Road (TF72152551.) The octagonal shaft is about 2m high, with a tenon that would have held a missing cross-head. The socket stone, with stop-angles and moulded top edge, is about 61cm square.



The north-east cross has a square pedestal - damaged on the north side - with no apparent stop-angles, and only about 1m of a badly-weathered octagonal shaft.





On the south-east, this pedestal is again square and plain, with about the same length of shaft, which this time seems to have been square also.





The fourth cross, at the south-west, has only a tiny stub of shaft remaining in a damaged - and repaired - square socket stone, that has chamfered top corners.



According to a note with Turner's 1825 sketch, the three smaller crosses were all brought here from King's Lynn. An informant of Cozens-Hardy, a member of the ffolkes family, said she was told that "they were originally standing on the Pilgrims' Way to Walsingham." On the other hand, the historian and antiquary E.M. Beloe (1871-1932) was certain that one of them was the cross originally standing at Grimston.


There is however a 1592 map1 of Hillington which shows that another of the crosses may also have originally stood in this very village. The map shows this cross standing at TF71032529, about 700m west of the Park entrance. This was the junction of the Lynn Road with a lane - now a track and public footpath - heading south to Congham. Another map (probably of the 17th century) also features the cross, as well as showing that Lynn Road itself was called 'Walsingham Way' at that time, so Cozens-Hardy's informant may well have been correct.2


1. NRO: NRS 21365, NRS 21378

2. NRO: NRS 21381



(Documented record of cross)

A deposition of 1575/61 - although Whyte2 says 1578 - mentions the wooden cross on the common that was part of the boundary perambulations. This would have been on what was marked on Faden's 1797 map as Binham Common, north of Hindringham, which was shared between the two villages. After prayers and gospel readings at the cross, the procession followed the boundary to a point "nighe a certen brydg called woodbrydg." Although now made of stone, Wood Bridge still exists over a tiny stream on the road between Binham and Field Dalling. My conclusion is that this cross was perhaps sited where Binham Road is crossed by Lantern Lane (formerly Crowland Lane) to the west, and Langles (or Langhills) Lane to the east, along the line of the parish boundary (TF98463862.)


1. Nat Arch, Kew: DL 4/18/37

2. Nicola Whyte: 'Norfolk Wayside Crosses' in 'Art, Faith & Place in East Anglia' (Boydell Press, 2012) p.176.



(Documented record of cross)

Says Blomefield: "1506, John Pyshode, alderman of Norwich, ordered in his will, that his executors should make a cross of free-stone, to be set up in the cross-way in the field of Hingham wood, at the expense of five marks".1 The location of this remains unknown. I can't find any map or record of where 'Hingham wood' might have been.


1. Blomefield: Vol.2 (1805), p.426.


Hockwold cum Wilton 

(Remains of cross)

Date of visit: 3/9/18.

Dimensions: Historic England

Wilton Cross stands at the northern edge of the green at the meeting of Church Lane and Main Street, surrounded by tall railings (TL7352188089.) While most of it dates to the 14th century, the octagonal brick plinth on which it stands (1.4m in diameter, 1.03m high) may be 16th century or later. Then comes a 46cm sandstone block with moulded cornice, on top of which is a splayed block 14cm high. The original socket stone is the usual type with stop-angles, 66cm square and 38cm high. A 4m high one-piece shaft with quatrefoil section is mortised into the pedestal, 26cm square at the bottom. An ornamented capital tops it off, as the cross-piece is missing. Overall, the whole thing is a majestic 6.4m tall. Despite the railings the plinth was slightly damaged by a vehicle in 1985, but repaired using suitably old bricks.


There is a map of Methwold Warren dating from 1580 which, at the southern edge, shows an object named 'Wormald Cross'.1 The crudeness of the map's depiction makes it hard to be sure, but it looks to me that it is just about in the right place for Wilton Cross and 'Wormald Cross' to be the same thing. Locally, it is apparently known as the 'Pilgrim Cross', and has been suggested as a marker on a pilgrimage route from Ely to Brandon, and thence on to the famous shrine at Walsingham.2


1. Nat Arch, Kew: MPC 1/75

2. Martin D. Locker: 'Landscapes of Pilgrimage in Medieval Britain' (doctoral thesis, University College London, 2012), p.97.


Hockwold cum Wilton 

(Remains of cross)
  Cozens-Hardy saw this plain socket stone with stop-angles in the grounds of Hockwold Hall in the early 1930s. Then it was about 30 yards (27m) south-west of the hall, and was being used as a flowerpot (TL7239187904.) By 1983 it was reported as closer to the hall, and under a hedge in the walled gardens. According to Edwin Rose in the NHER (No.13386), it's 50cm square and 30cm high; on the other hand, Cozens-Hardy describes it as being 76cm square and 50cm high. W.G. Clarke wrote about it in 1923, adding that he also saw there an "octagonal scooped-out stone" which had possibly been the capital from the top of the cross shaft. He suggested that the cross may once have stood on the nearby drove road to Blackdike. The hall is now a wedding venue and hotel, and I can find no recent report on the current status of the cross.


(Doubtful remains of cross)


For the churchyard of St. Andrew's (TF99751642), under 'monument types' the NHER simply says 'cross (medieval)' (No.2833.) I paid the church a visit in 2018, and found nothing in the churchyard that could be reasonably thought of as any part of a cross. Much later I learned that the monument designation seems to have come about from a questioning remark in Edwin Rose's 1978 field notes1 where he describes the font and some nearby stonework: "Perp carved octagonal font, on base in form of Greek cross, with octagonal stone for step - are these parts of an older font? Also two half-octagonal stones by N door and third sunk in the floor; perhaps rather part of a cross base?"


I've only seen a photograph, but the 15th century font stands on four octagonal blocks, with a similar block close by near the doorway. They seem most likely to have originally been sections of pillars from when the nave was almost completely rebuilt in the late 18th century.


1. Norfolk Archaeological Index Card 2833 (kindly supplied by Norfolk County Council, Historic Environment Record.)



(Doubtful remains of cross)

Date of visit: 1/6/19.

At the northern end of Hoe parish is the little hamlet of Worthing, with its isolated church of St. Margaret (TF99491952.) Of interest is Carthew's 19th century description of the church's peculiar font: "The font as it exists at present is a curious compilation. On a few courses of brickwork is placed the base of an old Norman font of stone, shewing the basements of a circular pillar at each angle. On this has been placed what would appear to have been a portion of the square shaft of a churchyard cross with angular-edge mouldings. Bason there is none".1


A modern edition of Pevsner notes it thus: "Font: A piece made up of a plastered brick plinth, the base of an Early English font which had four detached shafts, and on top two stones perhaps from a C15th cross which stood north of the chancel, hollowed for the bowl".2 Carthew had noted foundations "perhaps of a churchyard cross" north of the church, but these were more likely to belong to a ruined chapel recorded here in 1740.


As you enter the church by the south door, the font is immediately inside on your left, hemmed in by fire extinguishers and clutter. Although both Pevsner and the current church guide say the font is made of two blocks, it is not. It is a single block that narrows slightly halfway up to make two rather indistinct stages. The lower section is 41cm square and 37cm high, whilst the upper is 39cm square and 31cm high. A bowl 33.5cm in diameter has been hollowed out of the top surface, and a metal plate with a central ring has been fixed 16cm down (currently non-removable.) The carving on this object, both vertical and horizontal, is very crude and artless, and the whole thing is unlike any cross shaft that I've seen. Whatever it may once have been, I seriously doubt that it has ever spent any time exposed to the elements in a churchyard.


1. G.A. Carthew: 'The Hundred of Launditch and Deanery of Brisley' Part 2 (1878), p.743.

2. Nikolaus Pevsner & Bill Wilson: 'The Buildings of England: Norfolk 2-North-West and South' (Yale University Press, 2002), p.788.



(Remains of cross)

I searched for this fragment of a 15th century cross twice (in July 2018 and again in May 2019) and failed to find it, even with the use of GPS. Faden's 1797 map shows 'Cross' on the north side of a crossroads that has long since vanished, at TG3182028687. This spot is now at the edge of a field, roughly midway between Park Farm and Old Hills, and north of Corner Common Road. A remnant of one of the roads on Faden's map used to run directly to the cross from Howard's Hill, and survived as a footpath until about 1950. Another of the roads headed north-east. According to Cozens-Hardy this led to Bromholm Priory, five miles away at Bacton, but the traveller would have had to change roads many times to reach that destination.


This was evidently known as 'Stump Cross' in the past, as the 1843 tithe award1 gives that name to fields 28 and 29, just south of it. What Cozens-Hardy described in the 1930s was a socket stone 76cm square and 38cm high, buried in the middle of a hedge bank, with only its west face exposed. The slightly-tapering shaft was standing separately nearby in the hedge, 1m high and 30cm square at the bottom. Although very weathered, it's apparently heavily carved and ridged on both the sides and the corners. The photo (left) dates from 2008 and is from Geograph: Photo © Evelyn Simak


By 1973, the socket stone had been lost, buried deep in both soil and hedge. The shaft, now leaning, is still supposed to be there on the east side of the hedge - unfortunately, the 'hedge' is now more like a long stand of trees, buffered on both sides by a swathe of dense nettles, brambles and undergrowth, several metres wide.


1. Nat Arch, Kew: IR 29/23/299



(Remains of cross - now lost)

There seems to be no documentary or map evidence for this cross, only the upturned pedestal pointed out to Cozens-Hardy in 1934. It was in a hedge on the north side of North Walsham Road, "about one-third of a mile" north-east of Crostwight church. A map reference of TG338304 was later suggested by Roy Rainbird Clarke. Although this reference can cover an area of 100m x 100m, the likeliest spot intended by Clarke is TG33803039, at a bend in the road which was once a crossways. A footpath still heads NNW from this point to join up with the road to Witton. Another used to run SSW from the same spot, then split to head for both the church and Crostwight Hall, but disappeared in the 1960s. Unfortunately, neither of these tracks appear on Faden's or Bryant's maps, the 1838-40 OS 1", or the 1838 tithe map. So we can't be sure if this was any kind of ancient junction at all.


Even when Cozens-Hardy saw it, he said it was in danger of being buried by soil and undergrowth, and there was no sign of it when it was looked for in 1976. On my visits in May of both 2018 and 2019, there was vegetation but no hedge for many metres either side of the spot, but a thorough search still yielded nothing. The fields are cultivated almost right up to the roadside verge, so there's a good chance that this cross was removed or destroyed as an obstacle to ploughing long ago. I've noticed on the 1st edition OS 6" map the word 'Stone' marked 190m east of this location, again in the northern hedgerow. It apparently has an OS benchmark on it. It's possible that this might be the actual position of the lost pedestal, or it might have been relocated, or it might be just a boundary stone. Whatever the truth, on my second visit I used GPS and probing rods, but failed to find this object amongst the heavy vegetation.


Although now part of Honing, this site is in the former parish of Crostwight. As I said under Crostwick, the name is a mixture of Old Norse and English, with the meaning of 'clearing by or with a cross'. Obviously any part of a medieval cross here would be the successor to an earlier Saxon structure, but even this would now seem to be lost to history.



(Remains of cross)

Date of visit: 23/4/19.

In 1846 it was recorded that, in St. Margaret's church at Hopton (which, until 1974 was in Suffolk), "near the entrance-door is the foot of an ancient cross".1 This was at what is now known as 'Old St. Margaret's' (TM53019997), the roof and interior of which were consumed by fire in 1865. The restored shell now stands within Hopton's Millennium Garden. The immediate area around it has been cleared, but inside, against the west wall of the nave, a small flower bed has been created, peppered with masonry rubble. Tucked amongst the plants is what appears to be the top half of a socket stone. Only 16cm is visible out of the ground, and what was presumably the octagonal top surface is now so worn that it appears virtually circular, with a diameter of 57cm. A shallow mortise hole 22cm square has survived, but any traces of carving have been destroyed by weathering.


1. Alfred Suckling: 'The History & Antiquities of the County of Suffolk' Vol. 2 (J. Weale, 1846), p.27.



(Documented record of cross)

The 'Headless Cross' seems to have stood somewhere near the Hundred Stream, which still forms the southern boundary of Horsey parish, and used to separate the ancient Hundreds of Happing and West Flegg. Cozens-Hardy quotes from a 1542 lease "of the manors of Palling and Horsey with appurtenances in Palling, Waxham and Horsey and wreck of sea from tree called the mortree between Eccles and Palling to a cross in Palling and from the cross to Wynkyll dike and to a cross called hedlesse crosse by the same dike that divided the Hundreds of Happing and East and West Flegg".1 'Wynkyll dike' was apparently an old name for the Hundred Stream. (For the cross at Palling, see Sea Palling.)


There is also a deposition of 1608-9 which states "The parishioners of Horsey have allwayes gone in their perambulations to the headles crosse which divideth the bounds of Horsey from Wynterton and Waxham".2 This is a little confusing, as Winterton is south of Horsey, while Waxham is to the north, so how could this cross have divided them? Cozens-Hardy tries to explain this away as meaning Waxham Parva, a village now lost to the sea; but this would still only make sense if there was a detached - and unrecorded - part of Waxham parish right next to Horsey and Winterton.


The fact that this cross was called 'headless' suggests either a stone 'stump cross', or a plain boundary shaft. It may well have been set there by the lords of the manor, the abbey of St. Benet's at Ludham to the south.


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

2. Nat Arch, Kew: E 134/7Jas1/East13


Horsham & Newton St. Faiths 

(Documented record of cross)

A cross once existed here at the church of St. Mary and St. Andrew's (TG21601508.) Blomefield1 records that "Helene Carter, widow, gave an acre of land in 1521, to the repair of the cross in the churchyard, edified by her".2 'Edified' means that she was the one responsible for erecting the cross in the first place. No trace of it remains today.


1. Blomefield: Vol.10 (1809), p.438.

2. NRO: MC 3/1, XXVIII, 466 x 1


Horstead with Stanninghall 

(Documented record of cross)


'Largate Cross' appears in the 1586 'Book of Surveys of Horstead Manor',1 which places it at about TG26421956, the junction of Mill Road and Buxton Road with Norwich Road. It probably stood on the large green - now a mini-roundabout - that lay to the south of the 'Recruiting Sergeant' pub. Largate is a small hamlet along Buxton Road, just to the north-west. According to Percy Millican: " Richard [Pightling] married Amy Breese. He died in 1583 and his widow held 120 acres of land at the time of the survey of 1586. Her second husband was John Gostling of Eccles to whom she brought thirteen acres of land near Largate Cross, called Free Croft, with a house erected on the site of the Recruiting Sergeant….even in those days this was the village inn".2


1. King's College Archives: KCAR/6/2/087/04

2. Percy Millican: "A History Of Horstead And Stanninghall, Norfolk" (H. W. Hunt, 1937), p.148.



(Remains of cross)


Date of visit: 21/8/19.

The original village of Houghton was eradicated in the 1720s and 30s by Sir Robert Walpole, lord of the manor. He moved it from its old location in order to build his new hall and expand Houghton Park, but left the church where it was. The relocated village now clusters around the southern entrance to the park, and there are less than a hundred residents in the whole parish. A note by Tom Martin dated August 1727 shows that the village cross at that time was still in its original position: "A Good Cross Standing near ye alehouse, ye upright Stone about ten foot high." Exactly where this was is unknown, but it probably lay north of the hall.


Possibly dating from the 13th century, it now stands at TF7917728508 within the park, about 200m north-west of the church. When Cozens-Hardy saw it, he said the shaft was still 10 feet (3m) high, but measuring by laser, I make it to be 2.8m. It has a very large socket stone with stop-angles, 90cm square and 60cm high, now set on a two-tier base of carstone blocks which probably dates from the late 19th or early 20th century. Apparently a drawing of 1846 shows a different base. At ground level the current base measures 1.5m x 1.57m, and 20cm high, while the upper section is 1.38m x 1.35m, 45cm high. Similar to the cross at Drayton, the tapering square shaft (33cm x 33cm at the bottom) has vertical roll moulding on each edge, but here there is also a central roll on each face. The capital and cross-piece have not survived.



(Remains of cross)

Date of visit: 17/8/18.

Dimensions: Cozens-Hardy.

The cross that is now a focal point on The Green at TF6729640962 is another that has been relocated by the lord of the manor. The le Strange family has held much of Hunstanton since the 11th century, and in the 19th, Henry Styleman le Strange decided to develop the town as a seaside resort. What we now call Old Hunstanton was no more than a village next to Hunstanton Hall and its originally 15th century deer park. But in 1846, le Strange had the New Inn - now the Golden Lion Hotel - built closer to the sea, facing The Green, and in front of it had the cross erected on a new base. This was the beginning of the current town - then called Hunstanton St. Edmund - which expanded over the following years, especially after the arrival of the railway in 1862.


As it now stands, there is a 76cm square pedestal with no stop-angles, but the upper half is heavily carved, with an heraldic shield moulded on each side. The 1.2m stump of the shaft, square and slightly tapering, again has vertical moulding on all sides. The whole thing is mounted on a tall octagonal plinth of modern steps, made of carstone blocks and Yorkstone slabs.


Exactly where this cross came from has been open to question, though most seem to agree that it originated somewhere in Old Hunstanton. Various guide books and other authorities state that it used to stand on Gipsy Green, north of the park. According to PastScape, a local inn landlord said in the 1970s that "as far as he knew" it came from the grassy triangle at the junction of Church Road and Chapel Bank (TF68824207.)


No evidence is ever given to support either of these claims. There is, however, almost certain evidence that it came from near Hunstanton Hall, which will be examined under Old Hunstanton.



(Remains of cross)

Date of visit: 7/6/16.

At St. Michael and All Angels church, says Blomefield, "directly before the south porch, at about 15 feet distance, stands a stone cross".1 I would say it's actually about 3m from the porch, but no matter (TF6906132750.) There is a socket stone 88cm square, 45cm high, with deeply-carved stop-angles, and a cornice moulding around the octagonal upper edge. The shaft is 34cm square at the bottom, chamfered with pronounced stops to become octagonal. It ends at a height of 88cm, with traces of mortise holes remaining to take another stage. I couldn't see it through the grass, but a rubble foundation was once visible beneath the pedestal.


1. Blomefield: Vol.10 (1809), p.338.



(Remains of cross - now lost)
  The NHER mentions part of a medieval cross that used to be located in the grounds of Ingoldisthorpe Hall (TF687325.) Apparently an object originally termed a sundial turned out to be a cross that was supposedly found somewhere on the Peddar's Way, but it was stolen some time before 2005 (NHER No.12680.) An 1849 drawing of it by L.C. Fawcett survives in Norwich Castle Museum.


(Documented record of cross)

The 1507 will of Thomas Dobbys gives a bequest "towards the making of the crosse 20s and also a [tithe?] towards the same crosse".1 Blomefield also mentions this will, in a section about Ingworth's church of St. Lawrence (TG19272963), so this may well be a reference to a churchyard cross.2


1. NRO: NCC will register Ryxe 483

2. Blomefield: Vol.6 (1807), p.369.



(Remains of cross)

Date of visit: 2/8/18.

Mannington used to be a separate parish, but was merged into Itteringham long ago. The shell of St. Mary's church stands in wooded grounds that belong to Mannington Hall, but south of the main gardens. Scattered around the outside of the church are a number of pieces of medieval stonework brought here from elsewhere in the 19th century. One is a probably 14th century cross pedestal near the south wall (TG1418031880.) With stop-angles as usual, it measures 68cm x 72cm, and 39cm high. The mortise hole is 36cm x 38cm.


K - L   

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