High Cross wayside cross on Kirkgate Lane, north of Appleton-le-Moors


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012887

Date first listed: 19-Oct-1995


Ordnance survey map of High Cross wayside cross on Kirkgate Lane, north of Appleton-le-Moors
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2018 at 15:45:36.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Appleton-le-Moors


National Grid Reference: SE 73358 88560


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 High Cross wayside cross survives well in spite of the loss of the head and part of the shaft. Although it has been re-erected in modern times it stands in its original position. It stands on Kirkgate Lane, the old route which leads to the early medieval church at Lastingham. It forms part of a relict medieval landscape in which the crofts of the village of Appleton survive and the surrounding strip cultivated fields are defined by the later enclosure boundaries.


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


The monument includes a wayside standing cross known as High Cross on the lane from Lastingham to Appleton-le-Moors. It consists of a massive cross base of local sandstone and a portion of a shaft of the same stone set in the base. The cross is set on a modern plinth of sandstone and cobbles. The cross stands in its original position on the west side of the road, opposite the entrance to a drove road called Wensdale Lane.

The plinth is polygonal and is 2m wide on its north-south axis. The base is 0.73m high and at the bottom is 0.9m across and 0.71m deep. This tapers to 0.64m wide and 0.57m deep at the top. The cross shaft is in a socket and secured with lead. The shaft shows 0.97m above the base and is rectangular in section 0.36m by 0.21m where it meets the base. The shaft is chamfered on the corners and worn.

The massive base and slender chamfered shaft indicate a cross which may originally have stood 3m high. The proportions suggest an important way marker on the road to Lastingham and a focus of worship in the medieval period.

The surface of the road 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: 25636

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hayes, R H, Old Roads and Pannierways in North East Yorkshire, (1988), 56
Eyre, S R, 'Ryedale Historian' in Coxwoldshire, , Vol. 16, (1993), 13-20

End of official listing