Beaumond Cross

Image ID: 06590

Beaumond Cross

Courtesy of Nottinghamshire Archives

Beaumond Cross
Newark on Trent
England

Originally situated at the junction of Lombard Street, London Road, Portland Street and Cartergate, the cross was removed in 1974 to nearby Beaumond Gardens. This picture is taken looking South East with Portland Street on the right, and London Road on the left. It is the choice of original location in the town that has been the starting point for the many and varied theories regarding the cross's age and origin that have been put forward over the years. Because in spite of the great wealth of documentary and archival information available to us relating to the history of Newark, there is nothing that tells us conclusively how, when and why the Beaumond Cross was erected. One of the key starting points among those historians who, over the years, have attempted to solve the mystery, has been the name of the cross and the area of the town in which it was first situated: Beaumond. The distinctly French-sounding name, it has been suggested, became applied to this area after a grant of land in the late 13th Century to a member of the influential family of Beaumont - possibly the Earl of Beaumont who in 1139 seized the Bishop of Lincoln at Oxford when King Stephen threatened to starve him until he surrendered the castle of Newark. Records show that the name Beaumond was being used to identify this area of the town from about 1310 onwards. A cross being erected within the vicinity could, therefore, quite naturally be assumed to have become identified by the name likewise. Other suggestions concerning the naming of the cross consider it to have been the result of much more specific circumstances than mere location. William Dickinson, one of Newark's earliest historians, writing in 1801, states that in his opinion the cross was raised as a memorial to Lord John Beaumont, who is said to have fallen at the Battle of Towton Field in March 1461. Newark, states Dickinson, was on a direct route from Towton in West Yorkshire to the Beaumont family mausoleum at Dunnington in Suffolk and a possible halting place for the cortege. Tradition thus has it that the Newark cross was erected in honour of the fallen warrior at the insistence of his wife, the Duchess of Norfolk. A more prosaic account of the origins of Beaumond Cross is offered by those historians who consider the role that it might have played in the daily life of Newark. Newark is known to have possessed three medieval crosses (the other two being in the market place and near the Friary on Appletongate) and it has been suggested that together, these edifices fulfilled a common purpose as boundary markers and Christian emblems at sites where devotional thoughts might be inspired. In the case of the Beaumond Cross, located at an important crossroads just outside the southern walls of the town, it was a convenient place where travellers could offer up a prayer before consigning themselves to the rigours of a long journey. Writing in his two volume 'History of Newark', Corenelius Brown states 'Beaumond Cross cannot possibly be earlier than 1320 and is probably of the second quarter of the 14tyh Century.' Regarding any explanation as to the origin of the cross, Brown refuses to be drawn, because of the lack of any hard documentary evidence. It is a stance echoed by more recent sources that deal with Newark's architectural heritage. The eminent architectural historian, Professor Nikolaus Pevsner, ventures only so far as to suggest a 15th Century origin for the cross, while the current official listing under the schedule of ancient monuments (the cross is Grade II) is only a little more daring in identifying it as 14th Century. For more information on the removal of Beaumond Cross to Beaumond Gardens in 1974 see 'The Newark Advertiser', 5th October 1974, p16

Date: 1936

Organisation Reference: NCCE001055

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