Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Wayside cross 600m east of Gallow Hill, known as Friar's Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Kepwick, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3025 / 54°18'8"N

Longitude: -1.2517 / 1°15'5"W

OS Eastings: 448795.386017

OS Northings: 489908.41015

OS Grid: SE487899

Mapcode National: GBR MLPP.TG

Mapcode Global: WHD8B.R35Z

Entry Name: Wayside cross 600m east of Gallow Hill, known as Friar's Cross

Scheduled Date: 21 February 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010525

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26904

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Kepwick

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes the base and part of the shaft of a wayside cross.
The base measures 0.6m by 0.6m in plan and stands 0.85m high. A section of
the shaft 0.45m long stands loosely in a socket in the base stone. The shaft
fragment is badly eroded on the north side.
This cross stands on the route of a trackway leading from Kepwick onto the
moors to link up with the Hambleton Drove Road. It would have served as a
route marker as well as a religious symbol offering spiritual succour to
travellers. Crosses provide evidence of the complex network of communications
in the medieval period.

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 shaped 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.

This cross stands on the route of an important trackway leading from Kepwick
onto the Moors and linking up with the Hambleton Drove Road. It is one of a
group of crosses on the North York Moors defining and illustrating medieval
routeways, and as such provides important insights into medieval communication
and settlement in North Yorkshire

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Graham, L, M, , 'The Crosses of the North York Moors' in The Crosses of the North York Moors, (1993), 15

Source: Historic England

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