Medieval wayside cross believed to be nearly complete but currently surviving in four sections either side of a driveway. Not thought to be in its original location.
Reason for Listing
The Medieval Wayside Cross, suggested to be the Molescroft Cross is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Date: as an example of medieval ritual stonework.
* Completeness: although currently surviving either side of a driveway in a number of sections, the cross is thought to be largely complete, and if reassembled would stand to over 3m high.
* Possible identification: if the theory that this cross is the missing Molescroft Cross is correct, it adds historic interest as a former boundary marker for the medieval sanctuary of Beverley.
The medieval cross base and associated fragments to the north east of the former Kiplingcotes Station are suggested to be those of the missing Molescroft Cross, also known as the Molescroft Grithstone by Stone Cross Gate.
The Molescroft Cross is recorded to have originally stood on the northern approaches to Beverley on the road to Leconfield, close to the gate to Leconfield Park. It is suggested that a boundary stone marked on the 1855 Ordnance Survey map was this cross and that it was removed to make way for the Beverley to Market Weighton railway line in 1865, being relocated by the railway company to the approach drive to Kiplingcotes Station, possibly to form mounting blocks either side of a gate. However as there are no early-C19 references to the Molescroft Cross, (for instance no reference within Poulston's History of 1829) it may have been removed at a much earlier date.
The 1891 OS map marks the cross base as a benchmark at 138.6 feet above sea level at its current location on the south side of the approach drive to the station. The previous map edition (the 1855 map) also records a benchmark but this is not clearly located. It is however 4.5 feet lower at 134.1 feet, suggesting that this was a different benchmark downhill to the north, sited on the roadside. The 1855 map predates the construction of the station and its approach drive, the current site of the cross base being shown to be close to a hedge line between fields, the cross base itself not being marked. The map evidence thus gives some support to the suggestion that the cross base was moved to its current location during the construction of the railway. However the cross base is close to the line of a possible north-south pre-enclosure road surviving as an earthwork in the field to the south, so the cross may be in its original location, marking a medieval crossroads.
The cross base and associated fragments are consistent with other known medieval crosses and could well represent the missing Molescroft Cross. The Molescroft Cross was one of four sanctuary crosses sited on the main approach roads to Beverley, marking the outer limits of the Sanctuary of Beverley Minster which was established by King Athelstan in 938. The other three sanctuary crosses are separately designated.
A felon could claim the sanctuary of the church once inside the outer limit, protected by the threat of an £8 fine for any who violated sanctuary by apprehending the felon. This fine rose in stages the closer the felon got to the altar within the Minster. Felons could subsequently claim long term residency, protected by the sanctuary of Beverley, after swearing an oath to the Minster and town, being known as grithmen. Although other important churches could provide sanctuary (such as Ripon and York Minsters) they could typically only provide sanctuary from the church door. Beverley's privilege of providing sanctuary was ended by the Reformation in c1540.
MATERIALS: cross base, shaft fragments and capstone of well dressed magnesium limestone.
PLAN: the cross base is just over 1m square with a chamfered top.
EXTERIOR: set into the cross is the stump of the cross shaft which is about 0.5m square standing to about 0.5m. Just to the north east there is a section of cross shaft nearly 1m long with chamfered sides with plain stops to one end. Both ends are broken, the break at the end with the stops appearing to correspond to the stump held in the cross base. The other broken end appears to correspond to another section of shaft that lies just to the north, on the far side of the driveway. This section of shaft is about 1.5m long and tapers slightly to end with an enlarged block just over 0.5m square. Just down hill, there is a square, shallow pyramidal capstone.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.