Wayside cross and boundary marker known as Young Ralph on Westerdale Moor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012891

Date first listed: 02-Dec-1938

Date of most recent amendment: 30-Oct-1995


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross and boundary marker known as Young Ralph on Westerdale Moor
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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 67721 02093


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 and boundary marker known as Young Ralph survive complete even though previously broken and repaired. The cross marks the highest point on the old road from Keldholme in the south of the moors to Castleton in the north. It also marks the boundary of the Wapentake of Pickering Lyth. It has been adopted as the symbol of the North York Moors National Park.


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


The monument includes a wayside cross, Listed Grade II*, known as Young Ralph situated on Westerdale Moor 20m south of the junction of the road from Rosedale to Castleton and the turning north west to Westerdale.

The monument survives as a cross base and shaft with an integral head. It is made of local fine gritstone and has been broken and repaired. The base is 0.28m high and 1.02m wide on the south face and 0.94m deep. It is worn on the north west corner. The cross stands 2.4m high on the base with an integral head 0.88m across the arms. The shaft is 0.31m by 0.32m with no taper to the top. The shaft has a slight chamfer on each corner up to the head. The surface of the whole shows marks of stone dressing with a pick rather than the usual chisel.

The cross has been broken in two places and repaired with steel pins and cement at a point 1.1m and 2.08m from the base. A carved heart shaped motif in the centre of the south face of the cross head may not be original.

The cross was broken in 1984 and in 1990. It is in its original position and marks the boundary of the Wapentake of Pickering Lyth mentioned in medieval charters.

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: 25640

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Graham, L, The Crosses of the North Yorkshire Moors, (1993), 29
McDonnell, J, A History of Helmsley Rievaulx and District, (1963), 423

End of official listing