Medieval wayside cross, 190m east of Belsay Tower

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015518

Date first listed: 07-Apr-1997

Map

Ordnance survey map of Medieval wayside cross, 190m east of Belsay Tower
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

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

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Belsay

National Grid Reference: NZ 08671 78552

Summary

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.

Although the wayside cross near Belsay Tower is not in its original setting it has not been moved far. It survives reasonably well and is missing only its head.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of a medieval wayside cross situated immediately to the north of a field boundary on the Belsay Estate. The cross, which is listed Grade II, has a large socket stone formed out of a sandstone block 0.9m by 0.85m and stands 0.55m high. A shaft 2.75m high stands in the socket stone; it is chamfered towards its base. The shaft and its base are undecorated. The cross was originally situated within the medieval village of Belsay, presumably along the main village street which was also the main medieval road from Belsay to Capheaton. The cross is known to have been removed to its present location by 1864.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 25164

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
RCAME, , The Parkland around Belsay hall, (1985)

End of official listing