Corner of Yorkshire: Ralph Crosses

Ralph Crosses in the North York Moors.
Ralph Crosses in the North York Moors.
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Of the 90 or so stone monuments dotted around the North York Moors the most famous are two crosses on the Castleton to Hutton-le-Hole road across 1400ft-high Blakey Ridge.

The one seen by most visitors is Young Ralph’s Cross (pictured) which has become the emblem of the National Park. Standing 9ft tall, it has fallen down before and required reconstruction several times, once in the 1960s when someone climbed it to take coins left there to provide sustenance for weary travellers, as is the tradition on Moors crosses. It was rebuilt again in the 1970s after being demolished by a person with a grudge against the National Park. Further back from the road is Old Ralph Cross, said to have been built in the 13th century as a memorial to a man who died on Blakey Ridge from hunger and exhaustion. Ralph was not the unfortunate traveller, it is said, but the farmer from Danby who erected the cross.