Ancient Monuments

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Medieval monastic wayside cross base

A Scheduled Monument in Malham Moor, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0855 / 54°5'7"N

Longitude: -2.1086 / 2°6'30"W

OS Eastings: 392995.512826

OS Northings: 465518.651477

OS Grid: SD929655

Mapcode National: GBR FPQ6.96

Mapcode Global: WHB6M.LK4T

Entry Name: Medieval monastic wayside cross base

Scheduled Date: 10 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008778

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24473

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Malham Moor

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument is one of a small number of wayside crosses along the medieval
monastic route known as Mastiles Lane and associated with Coverham Abbey. The
remains of the 13th/14th century cross include a gritstone socket stone
which stands on three limestone foundation stones. The socket stone is roughly
triangular with the long axis running east to west to a length of 0.9m. It has
a maximum width of 0.71m and depth of 0.45m.
The approximately centrally placed socket hole measures 0.3m square with
a maximum depth of 0.2m. The socket stone is supported on three limestone
boulders, which have subsided and the base now lies on a slight angle.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the
medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to
serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith
amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside
crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and
otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes
linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious
function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners
and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on
Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west
England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type
of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively
few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to
remote moorland locations.
Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross,
in which the cross-head itself is within the projecting arms of an unenclosed
cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration.
The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces of which
various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or incised,
the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was sometimes
supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear
decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the
`Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both
faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the
North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed
base or show no evidence for a separate base at all.
Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval
religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval
routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth-
fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from
their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

Although the cross at this site has been lost, its base survives in good
condition. It is one of a group adjacent to Mastiles Lane which continue to
mark a monastic routeway across this area of moorland.

Source: Historic England

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