Ancient Monuments

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Cockan Cross wayside cross 600m west of Fox Hole Crag

A Scheduled Monument in Bransdale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3832 / 54°22'59"N

Longitude: -1.0297 / 1°1'46"W

OS Eastings: 463114.817748

OS Northings: 499071.158066

OS Grid: SE631990

Mapcode National: GBR PK7R.WH

Mapcode Global: WHF96.43X2

Entry Name: Cockan Cross wayside cross 600m west of Fox Hole Crag

Scheduled Date: 6 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011747

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25686

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Bransdale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Kirkbymoorside All Saints

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument comprises a cross base with part of the original shaft placed
upright in the socket hole and another fragment of the shaft lying in the
heather 1m to the north west.
The base measures 0.68m by 0.7m and tapers to the socket hole. It appears to
be deeply earthfast and stands only 0.3m high above the ground. The socket
hole is 0.3m by 0.3m. The shaft fragment measures 0.23m by 0.21m and is 0.65m
high. It is held by a chock stone in the socket. The other fragment of the
shaft measures 0.3m by 0.27m and is 0.8m long. The surface, particularly on
the west face, appears to have been decorated with deeply drilled holes which
suggest an interlaced pattern. On the south face it is engraved with the name
FARNDALE; on the north face, BRANSDALE; on the east side STOXL RODE; on the
west side, KIRBY RODE. This confirms its present function as a waymarker.
The decoration suggests a date of construction in the late Anglo-Saxon period
and a function as a boundary cross for a monastic estate. The decoration is
so vestigial that this supposition must remain in question.
The medieval route commemorated by the monument was the road from
Kirbymoorside to the north along Rudland Rigg and leading to Battersby Bank.
This was known as the Waingate.

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.

The wayside cross called Cockan Cross survives well in spite of the broken
shaft and loss of the head. It is in its original position beside a major
medieval route known as the Waingate. It serves to remind us of the piety
expected of the medieval traveller and the extent to which the landscape was
controlled by the Church at that time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hayes, R H, Old Roads and Pannierways in North East Yorkshire, (1988), 47

Source: Historic England

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