North York Moors CAM

The Crosses of the North York Moors

Lilla Cross

( Grid Ref: 889 987 )

 

. . .

Lilla Cross (looking south-east) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .Lilla Cross (looking north-east)

 

Lilla Cross on Lilla Howe is by far the oldest Christian monument, and probably the finest on the North York Moors.

It is situated only about a mile north-east of the Fylingdales Early Warning Radar Station on Lilla Rigg,
the two structures, within sight of each other, providing a massive contrast to the history of these moors.

The cross marks the grave of Lilla, chief minister to King Edwin of Northumbria - in 625 AD he saved the life of Edwin
by throwing himself between the king and an assassin receiving fatal wounds from a poisoned dagger.The Bronze Age
round barrow, which allegedly contained his remains and on which the cross stands is known as Lilla Howe.
However, excavation work carried out in the 1920's found evidence of pieces of ornate jewellery dated 200 - 250
later than Lilla's death, so it is unlikely that this was his final resting place.

A plaque by the side of Lilla Howe reads . . .

LILLA CROSS

ERECTED ABOUT AD 625 OVER THE REPUTED GRAVE OF LILLA, AN OFFICER OF THE COURT OF EDWIN,
KING OF NORTHUMBRIA, WHO DIED SAVING THE LIFE OF THE KING. BELIEVED TO BE THE OLDEST
CHRISTIAN MEMORIAL IN THE NORTH OF ENGLAND. ORIGINALLY ERECTED ON MOORS BETWEEN PICKERING
AND ROBIN HOOD'S BAY, RE-SET IN 1933 BY THE NORTH RIDING COUNTY COUNCIL, REMOVED IN 1952
BY ROYAL ENGINEERS TO AVOID DESTRUCTION FROM GUNFIRE ON ARTILLERY RANGES.

LILLA CROSS WAS RE-SET HERE IN 1962 BY 508 FIELD SQUADRON ROYAL ENGINEERS TERRITORIAL ARMY
OF HORDEN, CO DURHAM IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE WHITBY RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL

 

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