Reasons for Designation
A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone,
mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD).
Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as
stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm
Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for
preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of
sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between
parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate
battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and
protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market
places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some
crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for
example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the
scenes of games or recreational activity.
Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have
numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation
has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and
religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by
iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval
standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The
oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft
often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the
stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a
flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th
centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may
take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more
elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped
crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding
stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the
most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the
stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also
uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the
13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and
cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base,
buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and
head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our
understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our
knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which
survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their
original location, are considered worthy of protection.
Although it was broken in the past and is now repaired, Malo Cross 450m
south east of Nab Farm, is in a very good condition. It survives in its
original position and the surrounding area will retain archeological
deposits which will provide information about its construction. It is a
rare and well-documented example of an early 17th century cross, erected
after the main pre-Reformation period of medieval cross construction. As
such it provides insight into religious belief and practice during the
reign of James I and is an indicator of the local survival of `High
Church' beliefs at a time when crosses were being actively destroyed in
areas of strong Puritan belief.
The monument includes Malo Cross which is situated at the foot of the
northern scarp edge of the Tabular Hills. It lies on Upper Jurassic
sandstone and mudstone at the foot of the eastern flank of Whinney Nab.
Malo Cross is listed Grade II.
The cross has a shaft and cross head, constructed from a single piece of
sandstone, which stands 1.9m high. The arms of the cross are 0.25m long
and 0.3m wide and have rounded ends. The east face of the cross is
inscribed with the initials `K', `R' and `E' at the head and on the south
and north arms respectively. Between the initials in the centre of the
cross, there is a sign resembling a letter `I' crossed at the top and
bottom with curved rather than straight lines. These are the initials of
Sir Richard Egerton, who erected the cross in 1619 as a marker on the
boundary of his manor in the parish of Allerston; the cross marks the
boundary between the parishes of Allerston and Lockton today. The cross
shaft measures 0.5m north to south by 0.3m and tapers slightly towards the
top. Half way up the east face of the shaft there is an Ordnance Survey
bench mark. During the second half of the 19th century the cross was
removed, but was restored in 1924; the cross head had been broken from the
shaft and the repair is now visible as a line of cement about 1.3m above
the base of the shaft.
Malo Cross is situated to the west of an old road which branches south
from the Old Salt Road between Saltergate and Robin Hood's Bay; the line
of this road is visible as a hollow way running to the east of the
monument. A more recent track used as a public bridleway passes to the
immediate west of the cross.
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.