Volume VI: Northern Yorkshire

Select a site alphabetically from the choices shown in the box below. Alternatively, browse sculptural examples using the Forward/Back buttons.

Chapters for this volume, along with copies of original in-text images, are available here.

Current Display: Baldersby 01, Yorkshire North Riding Forward button Back button

National Grid Reference of Place of Discovery
Present Location
The Museum, Charterhouse, Godalming, Surrey
Evidence for Discovery
Found in 1870 in dismantling a wall at Baldersby and given to Dr James Sedgewick of Boroughbridge. The piece was given to Charterhouse on 27 November 1947 by Mrs Sedgewick of Whiley in memory of her late son, an Old Carthusian killed in the war and the grandson of Dr James Sedgewick.
Church Dedication
Present Condition
Broken at the top; chipped

(This owes much to Dr I. M. Blake of Charterhouse and the illustrations which he so kindly provided.)[1]

A (broad) : The top and possibly the neck of a cross-shaft. The edge moulding is modelled and extends in a transverse element across the top of the surviving panel. The upper panel, which appears to taper, contains box-point terminals with the tip filling the corner of the panel. In the panel below are a rider and horse facing left in profile. There is some damage to the heads of both. The rider carries a lance which slants upwards behind him. In front of the horse is another diagonal feature, damaged, which is not on the same line as the lance. The rider wears a kirtle and his knee is crooked. The carving stands in quite high relief from a cleared background.

B (narrow) : The modelled edge moulding is worn and chipped, like the upper part of this face, which is roughly tooled. A long panel contains five registers of four-cord plain plait in modelled strand with deep regular hole-points.

C (broad) : The edge mouldings are as on face A, and the upper panel contains similar box-point terminals in modelled strand. The lower squarish panel contains two standing figures cut in relief from a dressed background. On the left is a portly figure in a long robe to the ankles; a broad sleeve hangs vertically. The figure faces right and the feet point in that direction. It wears a pointed cap or hood. The profile face is canine or even bear-like with a jowl and mouth slit. The right-hand figure faces left and wears a knee-length kirtle. He carries a broad sword over his shoulder. At shoulder level is a horizontal feature which joins the two figures, possibly the warrior's right arm. All other features are worn away.

D (narrow) : The edge moulding is modelled at each side; the top is weathered. The long panel contains a run of S-twist or Como-braid with regular deep hole-points. Rough tooling above the panel may indicate that a ring or plate has been removed here.

F (bottom) : Worked surface, possibly original.


Whilst the edge moulding shows no sign of the locking ring on the top corner, this piece is probably a product of the Allertonshire workshop (Chapter VI). The S-twist, squarish panels and cleared backgrounds, as well as evidence of gridding in the layout, all point to that source. Both figural scenes are of great interest. The rider has parallels in the Tees valley on Gainford 4 and Sockburn 14 (Cramp 1984, 81–2, pl. 61, 290; 140–1, pl. 139, 745), where lances are held in the same position. North of the Tees, Hart 1 (ibid., 93, pl. 79, 394) has an identical scene and is also from the Allertonshire workshop; a close parallel in this region survives on Hawsker 1 (Ill. 318). There are also Irish parallels in sculpture at Old Kilcullen, Co. Kildare (Harbison 1992, II, fig. 534) and in metalwork like the Corp naomh (Henry 1967, 24–5, pl. 155), together with a Manx example from Santon (Kermode 1907, 139, no. 68, fig. 50).

The panel with two figures defies identification. The head-gear and sleeved robe of the left-hand figure should be compared with Kirklevington 2 (Ill. 404), also from the same workshop, but the canine, or even ursine, face is a surprise; Kirklevington 4 provides the only parallel in this region (Ill. 412). Placed alongside the warrior with his weapon, it might be a berseki spirit. A small number of carvings in Northumbria demonstrate that pagan Scandinavian tradition died hard even in Christian settlements, and long established iconography re-emerged on some monuments.

First half of tenth century
[1] The shaft was subsequently re-photographed by Dr P. M. J. Crook, who kindly checked the measurements and identified the stone type, as well as commenting on various aspects of the description. His personal inspection of this piece was invaluable. (Eds.)v

Forward button Back button