Part of ancient landmark from near Saffron Walden to be sold at auction

Stone on sale

Stone on sale - Credit: Archant

A piece of medieval stone, to be sold at auction next week, is believed to be part of the long lost Stumps Cross – an ancient landmark now covered by the M11 motorway.

Stone on sale

Stone on sale - Credit: Archant

The renowned artefact – which consists of a stone base with a mounted wooden cross – once marked a spot between Saffron Walden and Cambridge just north of Littlebury and, although the junction still bears the name, it is now below the busy motorway.

The stone has a mysterious history, with the making of a cross for the south door of Littlebury Church having been willed by an Elizabeth Thomys in the 16th century.

Although there are no relevant references to a cross at the existing road junction, the corresponding name implies that there was one, and recent research has suggested that it may have been removed from the church as a result of the Reformation – before eventually coming to rest at The Gatehouse.

The stone, used in latter years as a mounting block, will appear in the Summer Country House Sale at Sworders of Mountfichet, in Cambridge Road.


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The sale will start at 10am on Tuesday (June 16), and the artefact has an estimated price of £3,000 to £4,000.

Sworders auctioneer Guy Schooling said: “It is fascinating that important missing artefacts from local history can still come to light like this after centuries.

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“It really makes you wonder just what else is out there waiting to be found.”

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