White Cross boundary marker known as Fat Betty on Danby Moor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012892

Date first listed: 02-Dec-1938

Date of most recent amendment: 23-Aug-1995


Ordnance survey map of White Cross boundary marker known as Fat Betty on Danby Moor
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1012892 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 17-Feb-2019 at 11:25:20.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Rosedale East Side

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Danby

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Westerdale


National Grid Reference: NZ 68223 01993

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 Fat Betty is in good condition and although the shaft is missing enough survives of the base and head to establish that it is a wheelhead cross of the 10th or 11th century. This makes it the only surviving example of this type in the region. It is in its original position on a road across the Danby Moors which is attested from a 13th century charter. The cross also marks the meeting point of the three original parishes of Danby, Westerdale and Rosedale.


The monument includes a standing cross, Listed Grade II, used as a boundary marker and known as Fat Betty or the White Cross. It stands on Danby Moor at the junction of three parishes whose boundaries were fixed during the medieval period. It is on the north side of a minor road to Rosedale 510m to the east of the cross known as Young Ralph.

The White Cross survives as a cross base with a cross head set above. The shaft is missing. The base is a block of local gritstone 0.88m by 0.75m at the ground level tapering to 0.72m by 0.64m at the top. Each corner is finished with a roll moulding as is the top edge creating panels on each face. There is no trace of a socket and the head is pegged on to the top of the block with its faces to the east and west. The head is shaped in a circle 0.46m across with four circular indentations on each face.

On the north side of the base is the date 1919 cut in the stone. On the west side is an inscription BS IB 1953. Neither inscription bears on a date for this monument. There is also an OS benchmark on the west face. The cross has been repeatedly whitewashed over the years in accordance with the practice of the Downe Estate on which it stands.

The cross has been set up on Danby Moor to mark the meeting of the old parishes of Danby, Westerdale and Rosedale. It also marks the side of an old road down to Rosedale from the cross called Young Ralph. The road is mentioned in a 13th century charter from Guisborough.

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: 25641

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hayes, R H, Old Roads and Pannierways in North East Yorkshire, (1988), 14-15

End of official listing