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June 2015
Theft of Cross Shaft

  An important Anglo Saxon (9th Century) stone, believed to be a cross shaft, was stolen from Hovingham church, between Ampleforth and Malton, between 23rd May and 6th June. Following other similar thefts, including the theft of an ancient Norse stone from Harewood church last year, a clear pattern is emerging and there is no doubt that someone is specialising in their theft and disposal. If any of your local churches (or museums) have any items like this, please pass a warning on to them: they may want to either make the items concerned harder to steal by securing them with fixings or inside a secure display case, or temporarily removing them from display until such time as they can be displayed more securely. These items are completely irreplaceable and their preservation is tantamount. 


The Hovingham stone is 51cm high; 19-23.2cm wide; 10-2-12.8cm deep.

It was discovered in 1977 amongst masonry (Peter Addyman pers. comm).

According to the Anglo-Saxon Corpus (York and Eastern Yorkshire, Lang 1991, 145-6) it was probably part of a cross-shaft and the eminent art historian Dr Jane Hawkes suggests that it dates to c.800 and is probably contemporary with the shrine front (reredos). It is, she notes, "extremely rare in its layout and decoration, so VERY precious!!"