Wayside cross known as Swarth Howe Cross, 500m north east of Moorcock


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009849

Date first listed: 28-Feb-1995


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross known as Swarth Howe Cross, 500m north east of Moorcock
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1009849 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 18-Jan-2019 at 03:39:21.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Aislaby

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Egton


National Grid Reference: NZ 84125 08649


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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 pilgrimages. 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.

Swarth Howe Cross survives well as a base for an important Anglo-Saxon wayside cross and later boundary marker. Despite the loss of its original shaft the new shaft is of considerable interest as a record of the 18th century perambulations and as a waymarker among a series of such monuments on the upland routes of the North York Moors.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a wayside cross known as Swarth Howe Cross, situated 30m south of the A171 and 500m north east of Moorcock. The cross also serves as a boundary marker for the parish of Aislaby.

The Swarth Howe Cross survives as a massive stone base of coarse yellow sandstone 1.1m wide and 0.97m deep, crumbling away on the north side. The base is 0.72m high and rests on a low pile of stones set into the turf. The shaft is not original but a roughly squared block of sandstone set into the base socket at an angle and fixed in place with concrete. The angle compensates for the way the base has tipped back towards the south and brings the shaft upright. The shaft is 0.47m wide and 0.38m deep with the wide faces to the north and south. It is 1.27m high.

On the south face are the carved letters GR for Guisborough; on the east face A for Aislaby; on the west face is the letter I and the dates of the boundary perambulations 1752, 1774, 1799, 1821, 1841 and 1858. On the north face is written `Egton Road'. In the top of the shaft a hole has been drilled 0.04m wide and 0.11m deep as if to take a peg of steel and a further section of a shaft which is now missing. On the north face there are two holes for a gate fastening.

The cross marks a hollow way or old track from Egton, over Kempstone Rigg, towards Hutton Mulgrave. The shaft has replaced an Anglo-Saxon carved cross shaft now lost. It was in place when the parish system was laid out and was used to mark a boundary for the parish of Aislaby. The later shaft confirms both the functions of the original as waymarker and as boundary cross. We must conclude that the cross, which is Listed Grade II, is in its original position.

The gatepost on the north side of the monument is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 25644

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hayes, R H, Old Roads and Pannierways in North East Yorkshire, (1988), 23
Young, G, History of Whitby, (1817), 754

End of official listing