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
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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)
National Park: NORTH YORK MOORS
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
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,
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