Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross known as Reaps Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Heptonstall, Calderdale

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Latitude: 53.7687 / 53°46'7"N

Longitude: -2.0871 / 2°5'13"W

OS Eastings: 394358.591178

OS Northings: 430267.876

OS Grid: SD943302

Mapcode National: GBR FSVV.YR

Mapcode Global: WHB85.XJBP

Entry Name: Wayside cross known as Reaps Cross

Scheduled Date: 11 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013830

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23383

County: Calderdale

Civil Parish: Heptonstall

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Heptonstall St Thomas a Becket and St Thomas the Apostle

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument is the medieval wayside cross known as Reaps Cross. It includes
the socket stone or socle of the cross, a section of the cross shaft which
remains fitted into the socle, and the remainder of the shaft which lies
partially embedded in the ground at the foot of the cross. The recumbent
section includes an integral cross head.
The socle comprises an undressed natural gritstone boulder measuring c.1m
along its longest sides by 50cm high. In the top is a 40cm square socket hole
containing the bottom half of the cross shaft which is square-sectioned with
chamfered corners that close to form a narrow pedestal at the base. This
section of the shaft is 115cm tall. There are several peg holes and iron pegs
in its sides and the broken top retains the iron pin that formerly fixed on
the recumbent top section. This pin is not an original feature but relates to
a repair of the cross believed to have been carried out earlier this century.
The recumbent top section lies on the west side of the cross and retains the
hole for the pin in its broken end. It also has chamfered corners and shows
the shaft to have tapered slightly towards the top where there is an integral
cross head comprising two short side arms and a longer top arm where the
chamfers close to form a 20cm square capital. This section of the cross shaft
is c.185cm long, making the original height of the cross approximately 3.5m.
The cross is located at the junction of a number of ancient rights of way
across Heptonstall Moor and, when intact would have been a visible and
impressive landmark. In addition, it is Listed Grade II.

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.

Although broken, Reaps Cross is a well preserved and rare example of an in
situ wayside cross which retains all its original components.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Smith, A H, Place Names of the West Riding, (1961), 194
'Halifax Antiquarian Society' in Halifax Antiquarian Society, (1926), 69
Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)
PRN 2426,

Source: Historic England

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