Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Edmundbyers Cross, Muggleswick Common, 1460m west of Heather Lea

A Scheduled Monument in Muggleswick, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.7977 / 54°47'51"N

Longitude: -1.9953 / 1°59'42"W

OS Eastings: 400401.517822

OS Northings: 544760.948822

OS Grid: NZ004447

Mapcode National: GBR GDHY.TY

Mapcode Global: WHB36.BN3V

Entry Name: Edmundbyers Cross, Muggleswick Common, 1460m west of Heather Lea

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017309

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32065

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Muggleswick

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Edmundbyers and Muggleswick

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the medieval wayside cross known as Edmundbyers Cross,
which is situated 64m north of the junction of the Stanhope to Edmundbyers
road with a minor road to Waskerley. The monument includes a sandstone socket
stone which is 0.7m wide on its north and south faces, 0.6m on its east face,
0.8m on its west face and 0.3m high. The socket is 0.2m square and 0.15m deep.
The surface of the metalled road where it impinges on the monument's
protective margin is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
it is included.

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 greatly weathered, Edmundbyers Cross is one of only three wayside
crosses still in its original position in County Durham and the only known
example on the route between Stanhope and Edmundbyers. Information on its
setting and use will be preserved beneath the present ground surface.

Source: Historic England

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