There are many examples in East Anglia of a pair of crossed keys depicted on buildings
and signs. They usually represent Saint Peter, leader of the Apostles, who died
in AD 64. He is represented by two keys crossing each other, because, according
to the Bible, Jesus told Peter that he would be the rock on which his church would
be founded and that he would personally be given the keys to heaven.
A crossed keys symbol is the centrepiece of this elaborately carved door at St. Peter’s
Church, Yaxham, in Suffolk. It indicates that the church is dedicated to Saint Peter.
Here we have a pub sign with crossed keys at The Cross Keys pub in Market Street,
Crossed keys on the village sign at Henley in Suffolk are a reference to St. Peter’s
Church which stands in the centre of the village.
A crossed keys symbol is attached to the spire of the the church of St. Peter and
St. Paul in Stowmarket, Suffolk. The spire was built in 1712.
Below left and right: Crossed keys at The Cross Keys pub at Bell’s Cross, Henley,
in Suffolk, one lot on the gable end of the pub itself and the other on the pub sign.
Notice how ‘crossed’ keys often get corrupted to ‘cross’ keys, which sounds as though
the keys are annoyed rather than crossed!
Left: Crossed keys support the dial of the sundial at St. Peter Mancroft Church
in Norwich. Here, it is the shadow of the keys falling on the sundial that is most
The name of the public house at Redgrave in Suffolk, called The Cross Keys, is derived
from the fact that the church at Redgrave, like numerous others in the region, is
dedicated to St. Peter.
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ON THE CROSS
Below is a picture of a stained glass window in St. Peter’s Church at Rockland St.
Peter in Norfolk. The window dates from 1909.