Wayside cross known as Old Ralph on Ledging Hill, Westerdale Moor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012894

Date first listed: 02-Dec-1938

Date of most recent amendment: 30-Oct-1995


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross known as Old Ralph on Ledging Hill, Westerdale Moor
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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 67419 01991

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 known as Old Ralph survives well and is known to be of a 12th century date from the surviving documents. It is complete in all detail and provides a complete example of a local type which includes the equal-armed crosses Young Ralph, Baisdale Cross and Job Cross on Stockdale Moor.


The monument includes a wayside cross, Listed Grade II*, known as Old Ralph Cross on Westerdale Moor. It stands to mark a route, now disused, across the top of the scarp overlooking Eskdale.

The monument consists of a medieval cross base surmounted by a cross shaft and cross head in one single stone slab. The base is of banded gritstone and measures 0.92m across the north face and 0.85m across the east face. It stands 0.3m high. On the north face is the letter R cut in a later style and standing for the name Ralph. The shaft, also of banded gritstone, is set in a socket hole and measures 0.3m by 0.23m at the base and stands 1.41m high. The cross is an equal-armed simple cross with the arms 1.2m from the base. Each arm is 0.22m wide and projects 0.15m from the shaft. On the north face of the shaft is the date 1708 and the initials C D standing for one Charles Duncan.

The cross has been broken at a point 0.96m from the base and well repaired with pin and mortar.

The cross has been noted in a charter from Guisborough c.1200 as `crucem Radulphi'.

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: 25660

Legacy System: RSM


North Yorks SMR,

End of official listing