Low Cross, a reused standing stone on Kirkgate Lane in Appleton-le-Moors


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Low Cross, a reused standing stone on Kirkgate Lane in Appleton-le-Moors
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Yorkshire
Ryedale (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SE 73425 88201

Reasons for Designation

Standing stones are prehistoric ritual or ceremonial monuments with dates ranging from the Late Neolithic to the end of the Bronze Age for the few excavated examples. They comprise single or paired upright orthostatic slabs, ranging from under lm to over 6m high where still erect. They are often conspicuously sited and close to other contemporary monument classes. They can be accompanied by various features: many occur in or on the edge of round barrows, and where excavated, associated subsurface features have included stone cists, stone settings, and various pits and hollows filled in with earth containing human bone, cremations, charcoal, flints, pots and pot sherds. Similar deposits have been found in excavated sockets for standing stones, which range considerably in depth. Several standing stones also bear cup and ring marks. Standing stones may have functioned as markers for routeways, territories, graves, or meeting points, but their accompanying features show they also bore a ritual function and that they form one of several ritual monument classes of their period that often contain a deposit of cremation and domestic debris as an integral component. No national survey of standing stones has been undertaken, and estimates range from 50 to 250 extant examples, widely distributed throughout England but with concentrations in Cornwall, the North Yorkshire Moors, Cumbria, Derbyshire and the Cotswolds. Standing stones are important as nationally rare monuments, with a high longevity and demonstrating the diversity of ritual practices in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age. Consequently all undisturbed standing stones and those which represent the main range of types and locations would normally be considered to be of national importance.

This standing stone has been reused as a wayside cross. Wayside crosses were erected during the medieval period and served the function of reiterating the Christian faith to those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller. They also served as waymarkers. In this instance the cross marked a well travelled route linking important settlements for such functions as funeral processions.

Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval religious customs and of medieval routeways and settlement patterns. All those crosses which survive as earthfast monuments, except those which are badly damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

The stone known as Low Cross is associated with High Cross in medieval documents. Although there is no trace of a cross head or Christian carving on the stone, the location is original and its use as a wayside cross is undisputed.


The monument includes a standing stone known as Low Cross on the junction of Kirkgate Lane and Hamley Lane in the village of Appleton-le-Moors.

The monument consists of a slab of eroded limestone set upright on a modern cobbled plinth 3m from the road edge and on a wide verge. Set into the cobbles around the slab are six boulders in a cluster. The slab stands 1.27m high and is 0.81m wide at the base and 0.32m thick on average. The south face has a rectangular indentation cut halfway up the slab as if to take a plaque. Under the shoulder of this face and on the east side is a square hole cut through the stone 0.11m wide. The boulders suggest that broken pieces of the original monument have been preserved here. The broken pieces vary in size from 0.54m to 0.18m wide.

The name Low Cross given to this monument and its association with High Cross to the north suggest that the stone has been given a Christian identity as a wayside marker to identify the road to Lastingham in the medieval period. Standing stones are frequently adopted in this way and found in graveyards and other contexts in Britain. The hole and the cut for a plaque are more recent and may have been for a toll bar at this point. The stone, the boulders and the modern plinth are 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Hayes, R H, Old Roads and Pannierways in North East Yorkshire, (1988), 56


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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