Wayside cross known as Cooper Cross on Sutton Bank


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010348

Date first listed: 10-Nov-1994


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross known as Cooper Cross on Sutton Bank
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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: Cold Kirby


National Grid Reference: SE 51570 82994


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.

This cross stands at the junction of two important trackways and marks the point where they descend from the upland moors to the low lands. It is one of a group of crosses on the North York Moors defining and illustrating medieval routeways, and as such provides important insight into medieval communication and settlement in North Yorkshire


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


The monument includes the base with shaft socket for a wayside cross, situated at the edge of the main road from Helmsley to Thirsk. The base is 0.65m by 0.65m in plan and stands 0.5m high. The socket is unusually round in shape. The cross marks the intersection of the Hambleton Street, the old drove road running north to south across the Hambleton Hills, and the main road from Helmsley and Rievaulx to the west, at the point where both routes drop down from the uplands of the North York Moors to the lowlands of the vale of Mowbray. It would have served as a route marker as well as a religious symbol offering spiritual succour to travellers. Crosses provide evidence of the complex network of communications and settlement in the medieval period.

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: 25568

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Graham, L, M, , 'The Crosses of the North York Moors' in The Crosses of the North York Moors, (1993), 16

End of official listing