Wayside cross known as Baysdale Cross on Middle Head Intake 1000m south west of Baysdale Abbey


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010083

Date first listed: 17-Mar-1995


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross known as Baysdale Cross on Middle Head Intake 1000m south west of Baysdale Abbey
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Westerdale


National Grid Reference: NZ 61632 05633


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 Baysdale wayside cross survives well in spite of the fragmentary nature of its condition. It is one of a medieval type which can be dated to the 12th century by reference to the cross known as Old Ralph in Westerdale. It also provides important insights into the management of the medieval landscape and the faith of the Christians who erected it beside the road.


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


The monument includes a wayside cross called Baysdale Cross on the moor to the south west of Baysdale Abbey. The cross stands 10m west of a trackway which used to link the abbey with Bransdale to the south and is still visible as a flagged trod (packhorse track) to the south of the cross for about a mile.

The monument comprises a cross base, cross shaft fragment in the socket and a portion of shaft with two broken cross arms beside it to the west. The base is of banded gritstone measuring 0.62m by 0.53m at ground level, tapering to 0.56m by 0.49m at its top. The base is 0.39m high. The socket hole measures 0.32m by 0.21m. Inserted in the socket is a portion of a cross shaft measuring 0.27m by 0.21m at the bottom and 0.41m high. There are traces of a roll moulding on the corner edges of the west face of this fragment. Another piece of the shaft, with this roll moulding on two sides lies in the heather to the west. This piece is 0.25m by 0.17m and 0.36m long with a taper to match the base of the fragment in the socket. There are two further fragments of dressed stone which are shaped to look like the arms of a cross and would fit the dimensions of the shaft. These pieces are 0.25m by 0.23m by 0.16m and 0.23m by 0.17m by 0.16m. In all the cross is almost complete, although in pieces. It would have stood about 1.4m high from the base.

The cross dates from the medieval period.

The fragment of the shaft and the two fragments of the arms on the ground are included in the scheduling as is the ground beneath the monument.

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: 25663

Legacy System: RSM


Ms. in SMR, White, Stanhope, (1970)

End of official listing