The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland


Leave a comment

Pinder Hill, Waddington, Near Clitheroe, Lancashire

Pinder Hill, Waddington, Lancs, site of a Bronze Age burial.

   OS Grid Reference: SD 7272 4368. Pinder Hill at Waddington in the Ribble Valley, 2 miles northwest of Clitheroe, Lancashire, was the site of a Bronze Age burial mound. Sadly the tumulus has been destroyed and there is no sign of it today. The hill is actually a series of hil-locks in the corner of a field to the west of the parish church of St Helen. These grassy hillocks look unassuming and ordinary today, but there used to be a small burial mound or barrow on the higher part of Pinder Hill and, in the late 19th century, a funery urn was excavated here. The artefacts from Pinder Hill were later deposited in Clitheroe Castle Museum. However, the site seems to be on ‘private land’ but it can be approached from the north-side along Belle View Lane via a field gate a bit further along, or from Twitter Lane! at the south-side where a metal gate beside the driveway of the house ‘might’ allow accesss?  There is parking on the opposite side of the lane in front of the playground.

Pinder Hill, Waddington, in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire.

Pinder Hill, Waddington. Looking along the ridge of the hill.

   Pinder Hill is a series of grassy hillocks at the western side of Waddington village. They were formed from glacial deposits consisting of smooth and rounded pebble-like stones worn-down many thousands of years ago by the movement of ice and water; these stones can clearly be seen where parts of the structure of the mounds have eroded and fallen away. It could be there was a settlement here in the Bronze Age? There was a small burial mound or round barrow on the summit of the hill but this was probably destroyed in the late 19th century when a gravel pit or quarry was being worked. But luckily the mound was seen to be of significant archaeological interest and its funery contents recognized as an ancient burial; the plain collared urn and pigmy vessel were later taken to the local museum for safe-keeping. What makes this site ‘so extra appealing’ is the babbling little brook that flows tranquilly at the very edge of the field, opposite the grassy hillocks of Pinder Hill.

   John & Phillip Dixon (1993) say of this site: “To the south-west of the Buck Inn stands a hillock of glacial debris known as Pinder Hill. A small mound on the summit of the rise was excavated in 1887 and yielded a Bronze Age burial urn. Inside the urn, which was inverted, was a mass of broken and partly calcinated bones, more than half filling it.

   “Within this mass was found an ‘incense cup/pygmy urn’, two worked flints and a worked bone object. The presence of an ‘incense cup’ is thought by some to mark a female burial, the openwork pattern indicating basketry being particularly the work of women. Yet given the inverted position of the large urn the smaller may have been merely a stopper and may have no other significance.

   “The flints are of the type used for the preparation of skins and preparing thongs of hide. The bone object is a toddle used to fasten a coat or other. These finds are now on display in Clitheroe Castle Museum.”

    John Dixon goes on to say that: “Bronze Age axes have been found at Up-Brook Farm, Waddington, and the horn of a ‘auroch’, extinct during the Bronze Age, in the Ribble at Low Moor.”

Pinder Hill, Waddington. Drawing of the urn and pygmy cup/vessel.

Pinder Hill Bronze Age Collared Urn.

   The site entry for Pinder Hill in ‘Lancashire Archaeological Bulletin’ (1984) says:- “Plain collared urn inverted and containing A.V. found 22 June 1887 in, digging gravel pit. Contents included two flints and ? toggle of calcined bone (?).” The primary source is given as Y. A. J. 30;248. In the work  ‘Life In Bronze Age Times’ (Thomlinson & O’Donnell) some more information is given. It says that: Pinder Hill is a burial site dated as Middle Bronze Age, 1600-1500 B.C. On excavation in 1887 it revealed two vessels and many bone fragments. The urn…..was found to contain the cremated remains of a dead man. The use of the smaller vessel or incense cup is unknown.” The site is also mentioned by Ian H. Longworth in his (1984) work ‘Collared Urns: Of The Bronze Age in Great Britain and Ireland’. In this we find that the dimensions of the large urn were 15 inches in height, the small accessory vessel was 3 inches high.

Sources and related websites:-

Dixon, John & Phillip, Journeys Through Brigantia, Volume Nine: The Ribble Valley, Aussteiger Publications, Barnoldswick, 1993.

Lancashire Archaeological Bulletin, Vol. 10 No. 2/3, May & July 1984.

Longworth, Ian H.,  Collared Urns: Of the Bronze Age in Great Britain and Ireland, CUP Archive, 1984.

Thomlinson, Sarah & O’Donnell, John,  Life In Bronze Age Times, (A Resource Book for Teachers), Curriculum Development Centre, Burnley.

                                                                                 © Ray Spencer, The Journal Of Antiquities, 2017. 

 


High Wall Well, Bramley Meade, Whalley, Lancashire

High Wall Well, Bramley Meade, near Whalley, Lancashire.

   OS Grid Reference: SD 73660 37014. Medieval well in the grounds of the former Bramley Meade Maternity Hospital, near Whalley, in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire. The structure is thought to date back to when Cistercian monks lived at the nearby abbey. It has, however, never been considered to be a holy or medicinal well as such though it was used by the monks and, in more recent times, maybe by the maternity hospital itself. This curious stone grotto-like structure surrounds what appears to be a fairly deep water-filled circular well basin, which may originally have been in use as a “plunge pool”, or in medieval times as a baptistery? A bit of a problem to reach though as its on private land, but you can maybe ask for permission to view the well from the lodge building on Clitheroe Road, or at the main entrance on Wisewell Lane walk up the driveway for a short distance, then turn sharp left and go through the wrought-iron gates (if open) passing the beautifully restored Neo-Classical style water-fountain with carved ladies around its wellhead, which stands in front of the former hospital building; the well is a little further along at the right-hand side on the grassy area. 

High Wall Well at Bramley Meade. Looking down into the well’s circular basin.

High Wall Well at Bramley Meade (the entrance).

   This curious looking well-house with its circular water-filled basin is now perhaps rather forgotten, although it is still of great interest to the town of Whalley in the Ribble Valley. The well-house stands at 8 feet in height and surrounds what looks to be a deep circular basin or plunge pool. It might have been used as a baptistery in late medieval times, but there is uncertainty about that. There are apparently three steps goings down into the water where the entrance is, but I could not see them when I looked down as the water was quite mucky and filled with grass cuttings. It’s an odd mixture of lumps of small and large stones cemented together in a crude sort of fashion to make it look grotto-like, but inside the stonework looks much stronger and more complete and, becoming more circular as the structure tapers downwards, forming the well basin which has the appearance of being more ancient perhaps. At the top of the well-house roof is a sort of crude stone pinnacle. Today, for safety reasons the well entrance has a sort of picket fence barring the way, which is very sensible given the possible deepness of the water.

    Apparently the well was originally called ‘Hey Well’ or ‘Hey Wall Well’ after the area in which it stands; more likely the name has just altered over the centuries and in more recent times become High Wall Well. There is an 18th century map showing the area where the well is situated in a book by Jimmy Fell (1979), who also says the well supplied the abbey. The well is briefly mentioned in History of the County Palatine and Duchy of Lancaster, Volume 3′. In this it is referred to as having no medicinal qualities but was used by the monks “as a cold bath.” And John & Phillip Dixon (1993) give us a few more interesting details about the well. They say that: “High Wall Well is sited inside the grounds of Bramley Mead Hospital. Covered by a grotto-type structure, the waters are reached by descending three steps. It is said to be the clearest and purest spring in the Whalley district, the only one that was never polluted.

   “Perhaps for this reason the Abbey monks laid leaden pipes from the well into their convent, sections of which have been located by the local History and Archaeological Society.”

Sources of information:-

Baines, Edward, History of the Palatine and Duchy of Lancaster (Volume 3), Fisher, son & Company, Lancashire, 1836.

Dixon, John & Phillip, Journeys Through Brigantia, Volume Nine: The Ribble Valley, Aussteiger Publications, Barnoldswick, 1993. 

Fell, Jimmy, Window on Whalley, Countryside Publications Limited, Brinscall, Chorley, Lancashire, 1979.

                                                                                  © Ray Spencer,  The Journal Of Antiquities, 2017.

 

 

 


St Peter’s Church, Prestbury, Cheshire

St Peter’s Church   (R. A. Riseley, 1952).

   OS Grid Reference: SJ 90082 76935. The 13th and 14th century grey sandstone parish church of St Peter at Prestbury, Cheshire, is located at the southwest side of the village, close by the A538 road (the village road), and just opposite The Bridge Hotel. The village is located some 4 miles to the southeast of Wilmslow. The River Bollin flows near the church. There was probably a late Saxon church on this site, or close by, in the 11th century. There is the obvious evidence with regard to that early church in the churchyard where there’s a very well-put-together monument made-up of two large fragments of Saxon crosses, which has some very nice, almost Celtic-like, carvings. Also in the churchyard a 12th century Norman chapel with a carved doorway that has some outstandingly beautiful sculptural work: above the doorway is a tympanum with “Christ in Majesty” and above that seven carved figures that are now sadly defaced.

   The parish church has some medieval features including an Early English three-light lancet window (1220-30) at the north side of the chancel and a 13th century piscina with carved head in the south aisle, while the 13th century font was recut in the 19th century and has carved heads of monks from St Werburgh’s Abbey. In the north aisle is a 14th century figure of St Nicholas. There is a nice oak rood-screen of 1787. The crenellated church tower is of 1480. Also of interest some late medieval carved (incised) coffin slabs. The earliest coffin slab is built onto the north wall of the chancel and has a foliated calvary cross and a Latin inscription to Reginald Legh, Esquire, son of Robert Legh, Knight, foremerly Lord of Adlington. He built the church tower and porch. Reginald died in 1482. Apparently there was a priory hereabouts in the 14th century and, in the century following, there was a monastic hospice (Spittal House), which in more recent times became a farm. After the Norman Conquest the manor and church came into the possession of the Earl of Chester and, by 1153 Hugh Kyvelioc, Earl of Chester, had given the same manor and church to the Abbey of St Werburgh at Chester. Another interesting slab in the north wall of the chancel shows Sir Edward Warren of Poynton, who is represented in full armour; around the border is a Latin inscription: “Here lyeth the body of Edward Warren of Poynton, Knight, which departed from this transitory life the 12th day of October, in the year of our Lord God, 1558. Whose soul God pardon. Amen.”

Saxon Cross in St Peter’s Churchyard by R. A. Riseley.

   The Anglo-Saxon cross in the churchyard is actually two sections of different crosses that have been delicately placed together to form a T-shaped ancient monument; the carvings looking much more Celtic in design than Saxon. This may be due to the close proximity of Prestbury to the Welsh border and, we know that that border was as far east as Chester and Warrington back in the so-called Dark Ages, and so the Celtic influence was stronger. The cross fragments were discovered about 1841 when restoration work on the chancel was taking place; the sandstone fragments were embedded in the masonry. Originally the carved fragments were presumed to date from the 8th century, but today they are considered to be from the 10th or 11th century. It is richly carved all over with interlacing, interlinking and key-pattern designs. At the bottom there is a strange creature with a large, open mouth and several tails and a possible human figure, while there is a second human figure in the centre of the top T-shaped section. All-in-all a very beautiful piece of sculptured stonework, be it Celtic or Anglo-Saxon? Also in the churchyard a Grade II listed sundial dating from 1672.

Norman Chapel at St Peter’s Church, Prestbury, by R. A. Riseley, 1955.

   At the southeast side of the parish church stands the 12th century Norman Chapel. According to the booklet ‘Prestbury and its Ancient Church’ (1952): “The building which stands close to the present Church and which is generally known as the “Norman Chapel”, was probably built on the site of the more ancient Saxon edifice. It has a beautiful Norman doorway, a fine specimen of its kind. Over the doors is a tympanum representing “Christ in Majesty,” a subject which occurs in 21 other Norman tympana in England. Above on the corbel table are seven figures, now much defaced, which are of great interest, being unique in Christendom. Their interpretation seems to be as follows: The central figure represents God the Father holding the law in His left hand typified by an open book, and the Gospel in the right hand as fore-shadowed by the cross; conjointly justice and mercy are portrayed. The figure to the right with the animal (the Norman method of drawing a lamb) seems to stand for Christ, the Lamb of God , seated at the right hand of the Father. The figure to the left, having a resemblance to a bird, typifies the Holy Ghost in form of a dove. Collectively these three figures stand for the Trinity. St Peter with the key is shown in the sixth figure. To this saint the church was dedicated as is its successor at the present day. Figure two represents the monarch who reigned when the oratory was built, and this is almost certainly Richard I, Coeur de Lion, he being the first of the Norman kings to bear the budded scepter surmounted by a plain cross as here shown. The brings the date of the oratory within the year of his coronation, 1190, and that of his death, 1199.

   “The warrior with battle axe, figure one, and priest with staff, figure seven, represent the military and ecclesiastical government of the county palatine. The figures then may be, when taken together, interpreted as follows: “”In the name of the Blessed Trinity, this church, dedicated to St. Peter, was built by the abbot and monks of St Werburgh in the reign of Richard I, when Randle Blundeville was Early of Chester.”” 

   The Parish church of St Peter is a Grade I listed building and the Norman chapel is a Grade II listed building.

Sources & Related Websites:-

Bottomley, Frank, The Church Explorer’s Guide, Kaye & Ward Ltd., London, 1978.

Rogers, Harold, W (forward by the vicar), Prestbury and its Ancient Church, Macclesfield Press Ltd., 1958? (Drawings by R. A. Riseley).

The AA, The Illustrated Road Book Of England & Wales, The Automobile Association, London, 1961.

https://megalithix.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/churchyard-cross-prestbury/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Peter%27s_Church,_Prestbury

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1221919

http://www.crsbi.ac.uk/site/1197/

                                                    © Ray Spencer, The Journal Of Antiquities, 2017.


1 Comment

Churchyard Calvary Cross, Great Mitton, Lancashire

Medieval Calvary cross at Great Mitton, Lancs.

   OS Grid Reference: SD 71555 38958. In the churchyard of All Hallows parish church at Great Mitton in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, stands a late Medieval round-headed calvary cross which is beautifully carved with scenes from the crucifixion of Christ. The long tapering shaft and base of this Grade II listed monument are, however, more recent in date, but the sculptured cross-head is ‘still’ a very wonderful sight to behold. It may have originated in one of the local abbeys that were destroyed at the Dissolution. And close by there is another monument: a very delightful late 17th century sundial with a curious inscription running around its shaft. The church of All Hallows can be reached from the B6246 – some 2 miles northwest of Whalley. A short distance after the Aspinall Arms public house and the River Ribble the church is almost on the corner of Church Lane where the entrance to the churchyard is just around the corner, hidden in the trees on the right-hand side.

Churchyard ‘Calvary’ Cross, (West Face).

Churchyard ‘Calvary’ Cross, (East Face).

   This 14th century round-headed sandstone calvary cross is mounted on a long thin octagonal shaft that tapers away near the top and has a squared base bearing an inscription; both the shaft and base date from the mid-1800s. The original shaft has long since gone. It is often referred to as being of the Gothic period. On its W face there are three figures: Christ crucified in the centre with St Mary Magdalen and St John the Evangelist at either side of him, while the E face has a rather eroded figure of Christ on his own and crucified. Below that there is foliage. Both sides of the cross-head have tracery. All in all this is a very beautiful Christian monument and all credit to the mason who carved it. But I do think it should be placed inside the church in order to preserve it from the ravages of the weather.

   It is uncertain from where the cross-head originated but it could have come from either Whalley or Sawley Abbey. It would seem to be in this case, though, that it was actually brought from Cockersand Abbey, Lancashire; and in more recent times it was rescued from the bed of the nearby River Ribble, where it may have been hidden by the monks who from time-to-time resided at Mitton Hall, just opposite the church. Some of the wooden furnishings inside the 13-15th century church of All Hallows did indeed come from Sawley Abbey, near Clitheroe, after the dissolution of that religious house in 1536. Cockersand Abbey in north Lancashire was dissolved in 1539.

   The square base of the calvary cross-shaft has a Victorian inscription recalling the XIII hundredth year of the introduction of Christianity. The cross is now a Grade II listed monument. Also in the churchyard a sundial on a thin shaft, dating from 1683, which has a brass gnomon and plate, and an inscription in large ornate letters and numerals running around the bulbous middle section of the shaft.

Sundial in All Hallows Churchyard.

   The renowned authoress Jessica Lofthouse, writing in 1974, does not mention the churchyard cross but makes mention of Mitton Hall. She says that: “the buttressed gable end of Great Mitton Hall where the priests of Cockersand Abbey lived when they served the church in early days, make a happy composition with green slopes, trees and cattle, and industrious anglers knee-deep in the flowing river.” The highly respected local author, John Dixon, briefly mentions the churchyard cross. He also mentions The Three Fishes Inn at Great Mitton and says that: “Over the doorway……. are mounted a number of stones said to have come from Whalley Abbey.” 

Sources and related website:-

Bottomley, Frank, The Abbey Explorer’s Guide, Kaye & Ward Ltd., London, 1981.

Dixon, John & Phillip,  Journeys Through Brigantia (Volume Nine) The Ribble Valley, Aussteiger Publications, Barnoldswick, 1993.

Lofthouse, Jessica, Lancashire Countrygoer, Robert Hale And Company, London SW7, 1974, 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Hallows_Church,_Great_Mitton

http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=26292

http://www.daelnet.co.uk/features/churches/skptpend/gtmitton.htm

                                                    © Ray Spencer, The Journal Of Antiquities, 2017.

 

  

 

 

 


Watersheddles Cross, Near Scar Top, Lancashire-Yorkshire Border

Watersheddles Cross, near Scar Top, on the Lancs-Yorks border.

   OS Grid Reference: SD 97121 38282. On the southern flank of Kiln Hill and overlooking the northern end of Watersheddles Reservoir, near Scar Top, is the Medieval boundary stone called Watersheddles Cross or Hanging Stone which, even today, marks the boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire. The old stone now leans over at a considerable angle but is still recognizable for what its original purpose was; and maybe it was an ancient standing stone from prehistory. It has a rather crude inscription on one side with the name in large letters. It is, though, uncertain why it also has the name ‘Hanging Stone’ and what that means with regard to the stone. The cross can be reached from the little boundary stone on Two Laws Road – just after the reservoir and going towards Scar Top. Follow the wall up the moor on an undefined path to a metal gate, then continue up beside the wall until that stops and veers off in the opposite direction. You will see the Watersheddles Cross more or less in front of you.

Watersheddles Cross (with recent carving)

Watersheddles Cross on Lancs-Yorks boundary

   The Watersheddles Cross or Hanging Stone is a rough-hewn length of stone some 6 feet long that leans at a 45° angle or maybe more and is held in position against another lump of stone, with yet more lumps of stone at its base and surrounding it. It used to stand upright. Maybe long ago in the mists of time there was a wooden cross here, but this rotted away and had to be replaced by a stone one. This rough pillar of stone may have originated from somewhere else on the moor, and perhaps it had been a standing stone from prehistory, though whether it was we don’t know with any certainty. However, the stone was apparently brought to its present location in the 14th century and, sometime after that, probably after 1618, the large lettering on its west side carved onto it. The nice little cross at the top of the stone has obviously been carved more recently, maybe the 19th century, and the top part of the stone cut-away to allow for this. So “why” is it also called ‘Hanging Stone’ – that we don’t know, but there are many other rocks and stones that have this name. There are other boundary stones further up the moor to the north towards Wolf Stones, an outcrop of gritstone rocks which are visible from here.

Sources and related websites:-

https://megalithix.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/water-sheddles-cross/

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1009495

http://www.bradfordhistorical.org.uk/boundary.html

http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=46131

                                                   © Ray Spencer, The Journal Of Antiquities, 2017.


1 Comment

Jacob’s Well, Near Littleborough, Lancashire-Yorkshire Border

Jacob’s Well beside the A58 near Littleborough.

   OS Grid Reference: SD 96381 17068. At the side of the A58 (Halifax Road) close to Blackstone Edge Roman road, near Littleborough, and not far from the Lancashire-Yorkshire border is the now almost forgotten ‘Jacob’s Well’, a sacred spring that is hidden in the grass and fearns at the side of the busy, windswept moorland road that links the two counties. Some 280 metres east of the well is the so-called Roman road that climbs over Blackstone Edge and then heads to the fort at Ilkley. Presumably the Roman soldiers who marched along this Roman road knew of the presence of this ancient spring, which they may have even dedicated to one of their gods and, before that, the Celts would have also recognized it as a sacred spring. In more recent times it has acquired the dedication to Jacob, who might be the biblical prophet of the Old Testament, and is sometimes called St Jacob by Orthodox Churches. The well is to be found about halfway up the A58 road (right-hand side) and just 100m past where a wooden gate and footpath leads off to the east to meet up with the Roman road. At the top of the A58 road, on the opposite side, is the well-known landmark White House public house.

Jacob’s Well (close-up).

   At the front of the well there is a very long sandstone slab that has the inscription ‘Jacob’s Well’ carved onto it and some other letters just below that, but its difficult to tell what this says. It looks as though the inscription was carved in more recent times. The water is held in what looks to be a large and deep stone trough just behind the carved slab, but there is much foliage surrounding the well and so it is difficult to give any measurements. On the day of my visit the water was slimy green in colour and most certainly “not” drinkable.  There doesn’t appear to be any record of this well, whether it be holy or sacred, is not really known and the dedication to Jacob is uncertain. It could perhaps be named after the Biblical Jacob (Yacob) who was the Hebrew prophet and patriarch of the Old Testament. He is venerated as St Jacob by the Orthodox Churches. There are other wells named after Jacob, one at Bradford, west Yorkshire, and another at Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, but there are a few others in England. The name “Jacob” is also “James”, so these wells could be dedicated to a person with that name, perhaps even St James?

    According to tradition Jacob lived in the land called Canaan in Palestine, but died at Goshen in Egypt at a very great age. He was the son of Isaac and Rebecca, grandson of Abraham, twin brother of Esau, and nephew of Ishmael. He had twelve sons and one daughter, called Dinah. This therefore makes his sons (and maybe a grandson) the progenitors of ‘The Twelve Tribes of Israel’. The Bible tells us that God gave Jacob the name “Israel.” It is said [traditionally] that Jacob died in 1,711 BC at the great age of 147, his body brought back to Canaan by his sons or grandsons, and buried in the Cave of Machpelahphet where the Prophet Abraham lay, and also Rebecca, his mother, and Leah, his first wife; his second wife was Rachel. The famous ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ story is often told recalling a dream that he had about a ladder which reached from earth to heaven. Tell Balata 1½ miles southeast of Nablus, Palestine, is the site of the ancient Canaanite city of Shechem (Sichem) and Jacob’s Fountain (Bir Ya’qub). This is perhaps the well where Jesus spoke to a Samaritan women called Photini and drank water to quench his thirst (John’s Gospel). 

Sources and related websites:-

Aid to Bible Understanding, Watchtower Bible And Tract Society of New York, Inc & International Bible Students Association, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A., 1971.

Rogerson, John, Atlas of the Bible, Time-Life Books, Amsterdam, 1993

https://thejournalofantiquities.com/2014/12/07/blackstone-edge-roman-road-littleborough-lancs-yorks-border/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob

https://www.thoughtco.com/jacob-father-of-12-tribes-of-israel-70116

                                                   © Ray Spencer, The Journal Of Antiquities, 2017.


Affetside Cross, Near Bury, Greater Manchester

Affetside Medieval Cross, near Bury, in Greater Manchester.

   OS Grid Reference: SD 75471 13676. At the edge of Affetside village green, near Bury, Greater Manchester, stands an old cross of uncertain date. It is probably Medieval but, because it stands on the old Roman road (Watling Street), some historians have even considered it to be a Roman cross or milestone, or even a Roman column, but that seems unlikely. It is probably a pilgrims cross. Watling Street runs southeast from Affetside towards Manchester, and northwest in the opposite direction towards Ribchester. The village green has some modern standing stones and a large pond. Affetside Cross is best reached from the A 676 (Ramsbottom road) and then southeast for ½ a mile along the almost straight-running lane that is the Roman road, bringing you into the picturesque little village, where you’ll find the old cross beside the green – you can’t really miss it!

Affetside Cross.

   Affetside cross is about 4¼ feet high on its three steps, well actually two steps, as the top step is in effect the base which the gritstone shaft is socketed into, while the two lower circular, tiered steps are well worn with age. The shaft is formed from one complete length of local stone. At the top of the shaft there is a collar with a round or bun-shaped capital which may originally have held a stone cross, or maybe it never did? This is perhaps why the cross-shaft has taken on the appearance of a Roman column! There looks to be some faint carving on the shaft, or is this simply the mason’s tool marks. Thought to be Medieval in date and probably a pilgrims cross that was used ‘as a place to stop and pray for a safe journey’ by those weary but very religious travelers – making their way to Whalley Abbey by way of Bury, Ramsbottom, Helmshore, Holcombe Moor and Accrington – from the late 13th/early 14th century until the Dissolution of that holy place in 1537, when pilgrimages ceased. It would seem though the present monument is a market cross and more recent in age maybe 17th century, being re-erected about 1890, according to Pastscape.

Information Plaque (now very hard to make out).

   The village of Affetside stands on the Roman road Watling Street which runs from here into Manchester (Mamucium) where there was a Roman fort and settlement, while in the opposite direction it runs to the fort at Ribchester (Bremetennacum). Is it possible that the pillar of the Affetside cross was a Roman milestone as the village is actually about halfway between the two forts; maybe it was re-fashioned by Medieval masons into what we see today. Or does the cross mark the site of a beacon – at which time an earlier monument or cross had stood here, apparently. These questions can never really be answered with certainty, we can only guess.

   Authoress Jessica Lofthouse (1964) does not say anything about Affetside cross but she mentions the village and Roman road, saying that: “Driving the civilizing power of Rome through the north-west came Julius Agricola and his road-builders in 79 A.D. Follow the line of the Manchester-Ribchester highway through Affetside and north by Blacksnape and Over Darwen.”

Sources and related websites:-

Lofthouse, Jessica, Lancashire Countrygoer, Robert Hale Limited, London, 1964.

Shotter, D. C. A., Romans in Lancashire, Dalesman Publishing Company Ltd., Clapham, Yorkshire, 1973.

http://affetside.org.uk/cross_history.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affetside

http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=44366&sort=4&search=all&criteria=affetside&rational=q&recordsperpage=10

http://www.bury.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=11677

                                                    © Ray Spencer, The Journal Of Antiquities, 2017.