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.

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.”