Ancient Monuments

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White Cross boundary marker known as Fat Betty on Danby Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Danby, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4088 / 54°24'31"N

Longitude: -0.9504 / 0°57'1"W

OS Eastings: 468222.695125

OS Northings: 501993.201129

OS Grid: NZ682019

Mapcode National: GBR PKTG.1B

Mapcode Global: WHF91.CFNZ

Entry Name: White Cross boundary marker known as Fat Betty on Danby Moor

Scheduled Date: 2 December 1938

Last Amended: 23 August 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012892

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25641

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Danby

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


The monument includes a standing cross, Listed Grade II, used as a boundary
marker and known as Fat Betty or the White Cross. It stands on Danby Moor at
the junction of three parishes whose boundaries were fixed during the medieval
period. It is on the north side of a minor road to Rosedale 510m to the east
of the cross known as Young Ralph.

The White Cross survives as a cross base with a cross head set above. The
shaft is missing. The base is a block of local gritstone 0.88m by 0.75m at the
ground level tapering to 0.72m by 0.64m at the top. Each corner is finished
with a roll moulding as is the top edge creating panels on each face. There is
no trace of a socket and the head is pegged on to the top of the block with
its faces to the east and west. The head is shaped in a circle 0.46m across
with four circular indentations on each face.

On the north side of the base is the date 1919 cut in the stone. On the west
side is an inscription BS IB 1953. Neither inscription bears on a date for
this monument. There is also an OS benchmark on the west face. The cross has
been repeatedly whitewashed over the years in accordance with the practice of
the Downe Estate on which it stands.

The cross has been set up on Danby Moor to mark the meeting of the old
parishes of Danby, Westerdale and Rosedale. It also marks the side of an old
road down to Rosedale from the cross called Young Ralph. The road is mentioned
in a 13th century charter from Guisborough.

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 and boundary marker known as Fat Betty is in good
condition and although the shaft is missing enough survives of the base and
head to establish that it is a wheelhead cross of the 10th or 11th century.
This makes it the only surviving example of this type in the region.
It is in its original position on a road across the Danby Moors which is
attested from a 13th century charter. The cross also marks the meeting
point of the three original parishes of Danby, Westerdale and Rosedale.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hayes, R H, Old Roads and Pannierways in North East Yorkshire, (1988), 14-15

Source: Historic England

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