St Clements Cross

The Ancient St Clement’s Cross of bloomin’ Old Gorleston

Gorleston is an ancient village. Up to the 1880’s it was tiny and even up to the 1950’s it was not much larger. Parts of Gorleston-On-Sea are so antiquated they even had an impressively large Augustinian priory but now there is virtually no physical evidence of its existence left above the surface.

Another missing Medieval antiquity was the centuries old St Clement’s stone Cross, appropriately the tanner’s and fisherman’s Patron Saint.

Saint Clements Cross Anchor Mariner

The Crucem Clementij monument was mentioned in a 1597 Latin manuscript, when Elizabeth I was Queen of England and the House of Tudor’s rule would soon be coming to an end.

How old could it have been even then? Where would it have proudly stood on our modern street map?

Clement’s Cross

A Cross formerly stood near the White Horse Inn, Fenn Street, and another near the Feathers’ Inn, High Street.

The mutilated remains of others were visible a few years since; that at the south end of the town, removed in 1798, latterly bore the appellation of the Devil’s Tomb-stone.

The ancient name of this relic of by-gone days was Clement’s Cross, as appears from an entry in the Chievers’ accounts for 1597: … olim Henrici Reppis, contra crucem Clementij; anglicè, at or against Clem’ts Crosse.
The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk: Volume 1 – Gorleston | Reverend Alfred Suckling (1846)

Alfred Suckling Gorleston stone Crosses and St Clements Cross

Saint Clement’s Cross

Medieval Gorleston is likely to have had at least three religious large stone Crosses and perhaps even more megalithic and/or standing stones. It would have be fitting for seafaring towns to have stone Crosses commemorating Pope Clement I.

In 1797, the mutilated remains of a stone cross were visible, a little south of
the village but they have now quite disappeared.
Historical And Topographical Notices of Great Yarmouth, In Norfolk, And Its Environs, Including The Parishes And Hamlets Of The Half Hundred Of Lothingland, In Suffolk | John Henry Druery (1826) [Link to PDF]

Historical And Topographical Notices of Great Yarmouth In Norfolk John Henry Druery

But then in other religiously violent times that included the need for an Elizabeth I Parliament to introduce to English law the 1558 Recusancy Acts, these sort of icons and similar iconography might not be so tolerated or allowed to stand, especially in the full view of the decent local and God fearing folk. Mutalated.

Pope and Patron Saint Clement's Cross of Mariners and Tanners

Old England Lane connected the main road passing the Church Farm with the road to the east ascending the cliff. At the south-west corner of this lane there stood a cross, the base of which remained until 1786, and was vulgarly called the devil’s tombstone. This was St Clement’s Cross mentioned in the Cheever’s Accounts for 1597.
The Perlustration of Great Yarmouth, with Gorleston and Southtown, Volume 3 (Page 373) | Charles John Palmer (Published 1875)

The Perlustration of Great Yarmouth with Gorleston and Southtown Charles John Palmer

Not only was Saint Clement of Rome the fisherman’s friend, he was also the Pope of it and that whole Catholic Vatican City thing.

Can anyone confirm if Mr Palmer is writing that the large foundation slab/stones were the Devil’s tombstone, or, was it the Saintly but Catholic Clement’s monolith as Satan’s headstone and in bold daylight?

John-a-Lane’s Crosse, Old England Lane’s Crosse or England’s Lane’s Cross?

Was this Crosse of antiquities associated with John-a-Lane the same Crucem Clementij? Was it a Parish boundary standing stone marking the violently protected border by enraged mobs and/or the mythical Boxing Day battles with those strange folk from Corton and/or those bloomin’ Yarco’s?

Was the Papal Clement I Cross at the intersection of the now Lowestoft Rd and England’s Ln?

And in the same record [Chievers’ accounts for 1597], mention is made of half an acre of land: … juxta crucem Clem’ts, abutting sup: viam dūcem a Holgate-way pd. v’ss Fritton v’ss aquilon.

A white stone, which divided Corton and Gorleston, is mentioned in the perambulation of Newton, where it was called John-a-Lane’s Crosse.
The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk: Volume 1 – Gorleston | Reverend Alfred Suckling (1846)

The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk Gorleston Reverend Alfred Suckling

England’s Lane seems to be the easterly road that joins Cliff Hill (relative steepness for Suffolk/Norfolk) to the main road in for travellers, Merchants, Coach and Horses from Lowestoft and further south including London.

It is mentioned as south west of the junction, perhaps in the location shown below but it could be anywhere further afield. Although there is the Lowestoft Road Methodist Church beside the road and those Christians do like to build on previous religious sites, even if the former owners were not proper Christianity.

The Perlustration of Great Yarmouth with Gorleston and Southtown Charles John Palmer

Although if it was formerly sitting underneath The Chalet Coffee Bar that would be poetically delightful.The remains of this site of antiquity might even be under the house of that strange musical couple who have recently moved into number 72 Lowestoft Road, Gorleston.

St Clement's Cross Gorleston location

Old England’s Lane but a Church Farm there in Gorleston?

The mention of a Church having farmers working ploughed land by horses next to England’s Lane throws a spanner in the works and minds for most modern urban dwellers of the town.

Especially if you tried to triangulate that with a John-a-Lane. Both are not on modern Ordnance Survey maps. There is a Church Farm in the area but that is Church Farm Bradwell.

1558 Recusancy Acts Elizabeth I

But when the old boys and old girls of Gorleston have a mardle and say that it all use to be farmers fields they were not just mawthering, they were telling the truth. There was Crow Hall Farm, Shrubland Farm, Wood Farm, Ottey’s Farm (Otters Farm of Lily Pit local ghost stories fame) and others.

There was a Church Farm, Gorleston, before the Norfolk & Suffolk Joint Railway dissected it in half.

Church Farm Gorleston Loampit Lane Lower Cliff Road Cliff Hill

The farmland was sold and terraces houses were built, for example Albemarle Road and Suffield Rd. The Victorian terraced small houses of Nile Road and Lower Cliff Road help give some modern landmark references.

Norfolk & Suffolk Joint Railway St Clement's Cross England's Lane Gorleston

The only modern tip of the hat to a Church’s farm existence is the strangely triangular shape of the allotments on Western Road, which itself used to half be called Loampit Lane (the other half now Worcester Way).

Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Allotment Association Western Road Loampit Lane

Old Gorleston

It was at 2.30 on the 26th December 1898 at no. 9 Nile Road, Gorleston that I was born and let out a loud yell from a lusty pair of lungs to let all know I was another addition to the wide world. At the age of seven years we moved from Nile Road to Suffield Road, No. 4, later renumbered 52.

… I, Alex, started work, I went and took his job over although I was only nine at the time. I stayed about one year as the butchers errand boy, then left because I didn’t like it, I then straight away got myself a job as errand boy and worked in the two fields, that was for Johnny Beals. His shop was opposite the Wesleyan Chapel on Lowestoft Road. That was a piece of old Gorleston in those days. He also had a field about the same size, 4 acres, in Lumpers Lane, what is now called Western Road.

I did not make a very good move when I left the butchers and went to work for him, as I had to work 22 hours a week for a shilling a week. He was a hard task master was Johnny Beales, so Alex kept his eyes open for a change, and when I was eleven, I went to work at the big house on the corner of Stradbrooke Road and Lowestoft Road, known then as Stradbrooke Lodge. I was houseboy there and I got another sixpence a week, so that bought me to 1/6d a week for the same twenty-two hours. I was still seeing my friend Billy Downing.

During the summer holidays we two used to go to the Gorleston railway station and carry luggage for visitors coming of the trains, in between trains, we use to sing all the latest songs running beside the three and four horse brakes that used to take the visitors for a trip to Lound Village and Oulton Broad. The passengers used to throw pennies and halfpennies down to us as we ran along side exercising our vocal cords. This way we earned enough money to have a day out on August Bank holiday.
Old Gorleston By A.A. Hart |

How many standing stones and Crosses where there in Gorleston?

How many different stone Crosses were there in the Gorleston area? Including St Bennett’s Cross and the old White Horse Inn roundabout noted in OS routemaps as Stone Cross roundabout.

Were any of them related to the suggested Druid megalithic stone circle and dolmens of up to Medieval Gorleston and East Anglia?

Stone Monuments mutilated by religous mobs?

Old stone crosses and ancient high crosses were vandalised by crowds and commissioned groups of people to destroy icons or imagery they considered not right. This happened in Suffolk and Cambridge by William Dowsing and his sometimes armed men bashed Popery. Were any of the Norfolk/Suffolk crucifixes and stone pillars smashed including the above cross?

The Ruthwell Cross is a stone Anglo-Saxon cross probably dating from the 8th century, when the village of Ruthwell, now in Scotland, was part of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. It is the most famous and elaborate Anglo-Saxon monumental sculpture, and possibly contains the oldest surviving text, predating any manuscripts containing Old English poetry. It has been described by Nikolaus Pevsner thus; “The crosses of Bewcastle and Ruthwell … are the greatest achievement of their date in the whole of Europe.”

The cross was smashed by Presbyterian iconoclasts in 1642, and the pieces left in the churchyard until they were restored and re-erected in the manse garden in 1823 by Henry Duncan.
Ruthwell Cross | Wikipedia