Ancient Monuments

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Medieval cross reused as a signpost at the top of Caper Hill on the north east side of Glaisdale High Moor

A Scheduled Monument in Glaisdale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.41 / 54°24'36"N

Longitude: -0.8741 / 0°52'26"W

OS Eastings: 473174.098267

OS Northings: 502204.995772

OS Grid: NZ731022

Mapcode National: GBR QKBF.KW

Mapcode Global: WHF92.JFZ1

Entry Name: Medieval cross reused as a signpost at the top of Caper Hill on the north east side of Glaisdale High Moor

Scheduled Date: 23 June 1975

Last Amended: 2 December 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018739

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30160

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Glaisdale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Glaisdale St Thomas

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the remains of a medieval wayside cross which was reused
in the 18th century as an inscribed signpost. It is located 10m south west of
the road junction of Caper Hill and the road on the north east side of
Glaisdale High Moor.
The cross survives without its cross head as a 95cm tall shaft, 26cm square,
set into a monolithic and roughly dressed socket stone 48cm square and at
least 15cm thick. The cross is orientated to the adjacent roads and its shaft
is inscribed on all four sides: WHITBY ROAD; PEATHILL ROAD; and KIRBY ROAD are
inscribed in two lines on the south east, south west and north west faces
respectively. The remaining side, which faces the road junction, is inscribed
over five lines with GLASDA LE.ROAD THOMAS HARWOOD D:1735.
In 1711 the justice at Northallerton ordered that signposts should be erected
throughout the North Riding at cross roads. Thomas Harwood was the surveyor in
Glaisdale in the early 18th century, and the reused medieval cross is one of a
small number of inscribed stones in the parish bearing his name.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 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 cross shaft is an important example of the continuity of secular use
of medieval wayside crosses as signposts into the post-medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hayes, R H, Old Roads and Pannierways in North East Yorkshire, (1988), 69

Source: Historic England

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