Ancient Monuments

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Crosshill Stone at Grains o' th' Beck

A Scheduled Monument in Lunedale, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.5817 / 54°34'54"N

Longitude: -2.2063 / 2°12'22"W

OS Eastings: 386760.005

OS Northings: 520739.500523

OS Grid: NY867207

Mapcode National: GBR FH1G.4C

Mapcode Global: WHB48.23MF

Entry Name: Crosshill Stone at Grains o' th' Beck

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017014

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32060

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Lunedale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham


The monument includes the wayside cross known as the Crosshill Stone, which is
situated on a ridge 60m south of the farm buildings at Grains o' th' Beck and
beside the crossing of Arngill Beck on the Bowes to Middleton-in-Teesdale
road. The monument includes a socket stone and shaft. The socket stone is
oval; its long axis (north-south) measures 0.9m, its short axis 0.7m and it is
0.25m high. It contains a centrally located, roughly squared socket measuring
0.3m (north-south) by 0.2m. The shaft is 1.15m high, 0.4m wide and 0.1m deep.
The bottom 0.25m of the shaft has been roughly shaped in order to insert it
into the socket and it has been wedged into position using a small stone. The
sides of the shaft have roll mouldings 5cm wide. The top of the shaft tapers
above 0.95m.
The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is on the route between Brough and
Middleton-in-Teesdale. It is the only known survivor of the wayside crosses
marked for this route on John Speed's map of 1610. The other sites were
Laithkirk, Kelton and Stackholm.

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.

Crosshill Stone is one of only three wayside crosses in County Durham known to
survive in its original position. It is the only example of an oval socket
stone within the county. The surrounding area is undisturbed and will preserve
sub-surface archaeological deposits.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bell, W R , 'Laithkirk Parish Magazine' in Wayside Crosses, (1869)

Source: Historic England

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