Cockan Cross wayside cross 600m west of Fox Hole Crag


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011747

Date first listed: 06-Jan-1995


Ordnance survey map of Cockan Cross wayside cross 600m west of Fox Hole Crag
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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: Bransdale


National Grid Reference: SE 63115 99071


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 wayside cross called Cockan Cross survives well in spite of the broken shaft and loss of the head. It is in its original position beside a major medieval route known as the Waingate. It serves to remind us of the piety expected of the medieval traveller and the extent to which the landscape was controlled by the Church at that time.


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


The monument comprises a cross base with part of the original shaft placed upright in the socket hole and another fragment of the shaft lying in the heather 1m to the north west. The base measures 0.68m by 0.7m and tapers to the socket hole. It appears to be deeply earthfast and stands only 0.3m high above the ground. The socket hole is 0.3m by 0.3m. The shaft fragment measures 0.23m by 0.21m and is 0.65m high. It is held by a chock stone in the socket. The other fragment of the shaft measures 0.3m by 0.27m and is 0.8m long. The surface, particularly on the west face, appears to have been decorated with deeply drilled holes which suggest an interlaced pattern. On the south face it is engraved with the name FARNDALE; on the north face, BRANSDALE; on the east side STOXL RODE; on the west side, KIRBY RODE. This confirms its present function as a waymarker. The decoration suggests a date of construction in the late Anglo-Saxon period and a function as a boundary cross for a monastic estate. The decoration is so vestigial that this supposition must remain in question. The medieval route commemorated by the monument was the road from Kirbymoorside to the north along Rudland Rigg and leading to Battersby Bank. This was known as the Waingate.

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: 25686

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hayes, R H, Old Roads and Pannierways in North East Yorkshire, (1988), 47

End of official listing