Wayside cross called Stony Cross on the A170 920m south east of Highfield House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010077

Date first listed: 10-Oct-1995


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross called Stony Cross on the A170 920m south east of Highfield House
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Wombleton

National Grid Reference: SE 66821 84772


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.

The Stony Cross wayside cross survives as a single cushion capital of fine sandstone with a cross incised on it. It marks the line of the Thurkilsti medieval road which appears in a Rievaulx charter of AD 1145 granting land from Walter L'Espec. It gives us insight into the organisation of the medieval landscape and the implied piety of the medieval Christian traveller.


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


The monument includes a cross-inscribed stone called Stony Cross set up beside the A170 from Helmsley to Pickering where the road from Wombleton joins it. The Thurkilsti, one of the four most important medieval roads from south to north across the North York Moors, crosses the A170 at this point or close to it as it goes from Sunley Hill towards the Skiplam Road.

The cross consists of a shaped sandstone block set on a modern plinth resting on a platform of cobbles. The stone is 0.57m square with the top edges rounded off and a deeply incised cross cut across the top. It seems to be a cushion capital from a building reused as a waymarker. The modern plinth is 0.94m square made of pieces of sandstone and the whole is built into a circular cobbled platform 3m in diameter.

The cross is in its original position and the modern plinth and stone cross are included in this scheduling together with the ground beneath. The modern cobbled platform is not included in the scheduling.

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: 25656

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hayes, R H, Old Roads and Pannierways in North East Yorkshire, (1988), 41

End of official listing