The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland


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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.


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.

 

 

 


St Patrick’s Chapel And Rock Graves, Heysham, Lancashire


St Patrick’s Chapel on Chapel Hill, Heysham.

   OS Grid Reference: SD 40980 61628. On the headland above St Peter’s parish church at Heysham, in Lancashire, stand the ancient ruins of St Patrick’s Chapel, a Saxon building dating from either the 8th or 10th century AD. Also upon Chapel Hill, overlooking Heysham Sands, and just opposite the ruined chapel there are two sets of rock-hewn graves that are said to date from the 11th century AD. It is thought to be very unlikely that Ireland’s patron saint ever set foot on Heysham Head, as much as that makes for a very good story, although beneath the ruined chapel’s stonework there are the foundations of an earlier Celtic-style chapel – maybe dating back to the 6th century AD. To reach St Patrick’s Chapel: from Main Street take the rough track that heads west past St Peter’s churchyard entrance, and then slightly up hill for a while, then take the footpath that veers off the rough track for a few metres up to Chapel Hill and the ruined chapel with the curious rock-cut graves close by.

St Patrick’s Chapel, Heysham, from a different angle.

   The chapel measures 27 feet by 6 feet and is built from large, rough-hewn lumps of sandstone, with thinner rubble coursework sections between and at the top, but the curved Saxon doorway is by far the best part of the structure. According to Richard Peace (1997) the sandstone blocks that make up the chapel are: “fused together by molten shells.” However, a large part of the chapel has now gone through robbery of the stonework, or it has been used elsewhere in the vicinity, or maybe just lost to time. But beneath the ruin there are the foundations of an earlier Celtic-style chapel of the 5th or 6th century AD. It had been thought that the little building dated back to c750 AD, but in reality it probably dates from the 10th century AD, which would make it “contemporary with the earliest part of St Peter’s Church”, according to Eileen J. Dent (2003).

   The original Celtic chapel beneath the present ruin was most likely “due to the efforts of monks from Ireland, acting as missionaries to St Patrick”, says Eileen J. Dent. It’s almost certain that St Patrick of Ireland never set foot in Heysham, although traditionally he was shipwrecked off the Lancashire coast in the 5th century AD. More likely his followers came here. There are, however, a few holy wells named for him in the area. Nikolaus Pevsner (1979) says of the chapel that it is: “A plain rectangle, 27½ by 9 ft. The S doorway has an arch made of one with concentric grooves. Dating varies between the c8 and c9.”                                                                                              

   Author Eileen J. Dent says that: “In 1977-8 archaeologists found decorated plaster among the foundations of the earlier building. From discoveries, it would seem that the chapel was used only for worship and burial, and never used as a place of habitation. For example it could not have been a hermitage. There is no registration of the chapel as a chantry.

   “The chapel and the ground to the south were used as burial places. Some skeletons were found within the chapel and many more in the ground outside. The soil level is very shallow, and although the skeletons were in layers, none was buried deep.

   “G. Grainger, in an as yet unpublished paper [1977-8], says that the skeletons were generally in a poor condition, but there was probably a total of between 78 and 84 individuals, of various ages, and of both sexes. His tests showed that about one fifth of the population died before the age of 10 and that none survived beyond the age of about 45. After examination the bones were re-interred in the present churchyard.”

Rock-cut graves at Heysham, Lancashire

   Opposite St Patrick’s Chapel are six rock-hewn graves that are carved out of a large flat sandstone rock. Two of these are straight-sided and four body-shaped, each having a hole at the top, which might have been for a wooden cross. Close by there are another set of two graves but these look to be of a later, Medieval date, maybe from the 13th century? The set of six graves are thought to date from the 9th-11th centuries AD, but more likely to be of the latter century, which would make them Viking in origin. The question must be then, were the priests that served St Patrick’s chapel buried in these graves? That we don’t know but I would think they probably were. Today the rock graves are often filled with rainwater. The graves are Grade II listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

   Author Eileen J. Dent says that: “The stone-cut graves were also examined in the 1977-8 dig. These are not unique. There are other rock-cut graves in the Isle of Man, and similar ones in Spain (Aragon). Archaeologists say that ‘a primary date is likely’, that is, contemporary with the first occupation of the site, but little is known about them, except that they were more likely to be reliquaries than containers for whole bodies.”

Illustration of the Hog-back tombstone in St Peter’s, Heysham.

   Below Chapel Hill stands the ancient parish church of St Peter parts of which date back to the Saxon period. Beside the pathway to the church there is the stump of an Anglo Saxon cross-shaft, which might be of the 9th century AD. It stands at just over 2½ feet high and is in the form of a house with windows and a door carved onto it – with faces and figures looking out. There is perhaps an association here with the visit of the three Marys to the sepulcher, or the raising of Lazarus, according to Nigel & Mary Kerr (1982). The upper three windows have faces looking out and a shrouded figure in the doorway below. There is also a round-headed panel (west face) with a saint holding a book, and below that and on the sides are foliage scrolls, say Nigel & Mary Kerr. Housed within the church (south aisle) is a hog-back tombstone of the 10th or 11th century AD. This used to stand out in the graveyard but was brought into the church (1961). It is richly decorated with scenes of stag-hunting from the Norse Legend of Sigurd. There is also zigzag carving, and at either end strange creatures cling to the stone, but whether they are hogs or bears is open to question. Almost certainly it was the gravestone of a wealthy Viking warrior.

Sources and related websites:-

Dent, Eileen, J., Heysham – a History, The Rector & Parochial Church Council of St Peter’s Church, Heysham, & Heysham Heritage Association, 2003.

Fields, Ken, The Mysterious North, Countryside Publications, 1987. 

Kerr, Nigel & Mary, A Guide To Anglo Saxon Sites, Paladin (Granada Publishing Limited), St Albans, Herts, 1982.

Peace, Richard, Lancashire Curiosities, The Dovecote Press Ltd., Stanbridge, Wimborne, Dorset, 1997.

Pevsner, Nikolaus, The Buildings of England – North Lancashire, Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth, Middlesex, 1979. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Patrick%27s_Chapel,_Heysham

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1020535

http://www.sandhak.co.uk/html/history_of_heysham.html

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

                                                                                © Ray Spencer, The Journal Of Antiquities, 2017. 

 


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Simon’s Cross, Simonstone, Near Padiham, Lancashire

Simon's Cross near Simonstone, Lancashire.

Simon’s Cross near Simonstone, Lancashire.

    OS grid reference: SD 7760 3609. Upon White Hill and just beside Shady Walks at the north-side of Simonstone, near Padiham, Lanca-shire, is a large boulder with a deep socket hole. This is, in fact, the cross-base of a Medieval wayside cross which was known locally as ‘Simon’s Cross’, ‘Simon’s Stone’ or sometimes ‘Wart Well’. Very little is known about its history and who it was named for, or who actually erected the cross. There are inscriptions carved into the sides of the cross-base. The stone can be reached from the A671 (Whalley Road) in Simonstone, then via School Lane and Trapp Lane for ¾ of a mile, passing Higher Trapp Hotel on the left. Just before the top of the lane where the woodland begins go through the wooden kissing gate – the cross-base is beside the wall. Just opposite the cross-base is the beginning of a long and overgrown woodland trench, and the track running alongside this is known locally as Shady Walks!

Simon's Cross at Simonstone, Lancashire.

Simon’s Cross (from above).

    This large, natural and round-shaped boulder, known as ‘Simon’s Cross’ is roughly 4½ ft wide and just over 2 ft high and is thought to weigh 2-3 tonnes. Its socket hole is 1 ft wide and 10′ deep. But it is not always full of rain-water. When it does contain water it is locally called ‘Wart Well’ as it is said to be a cure for warts, or it used to be? When I visited there was no water in the socket hole. On the side of the boulder the words ‘SIMON’S CROSS’ are carved along with a faint cross symbol and some Latin-type letters: maybe J A M and J W and a date that looks like 1860. The cross-shaft that would have fitted into this boulder having long since disappeared, but where did it go to?

Simon's Cross (side view).

Simon’s Cross (side view).

Simon's Cross (close-up of the 'Wart Well').

Simon’s Cross (close-up of the ‘Wart Well’).

    Simon’s Cross originally marked the parish boundary of Simonstone and Read, and was perhaps set up in the late 13th or early 14th century by Simon de Read, or could it have been Simon de Altham in the 14th century? It could also, perhaps, be named after a member of the Whitaker family of Simonstone? But we may never know. Simonstone takes its name from any of these characters. And maybe the monks of Whalley Abbey had some connection with the cross as it may have stood on land owned by that religious house, but the main landowners between here and Clitheroe were the de Lacys. Maybe this was a wayside cross to which pilgrims on-route to the abbey could congregate at – and say prayers for a safe journey – the cross acting as a sort of waymarker. The stone for the building of Whalley Abbey is ‘said’ to have come from quarries at Read and Simonstone.

    “The deep, overgrown trench alongside the path in Shady Walks was a drift mine for the extraction of fire clay”, according to the 1992 book ‘Walks In Lancashire Witch Country’ by Jack Keighley. This industrial quarry working runs beside the woodland track for about ½ a mile.

Sources and related web-sites:-

Clayton, John A., The Lancashire Witch Conspiracy, Barrowford Press, 2007.

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol6/pp411-416

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/lancs/vol6/pp503-507

http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/lancashire/hi/people_and_places/religion_and_ethics/newsid_8142000/8142400.stm

Keighley, Jack, Walks In Lancashire Witch Country, Cicerone, 1992.


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The Collingham Saxon Crosses, West Yorkshire

    OS grid reference: SE 3900 4609. At the north-east side of Collingham village, west York-shire, stands the ancient parish church of St Oswald, a building dating back to pre-Conquest times. The church houses two Anglo-Saxon cross-shafts and also a few other interesting antiquities: there is an ancient stone coffin lid, a cresset stone, a stone with a consecration cross and some 17th century grave slabs. St Oswald’s parish church is located on Church Lane just to the north of the Leeds to Wetherby road the A58 (Main Street), and the river Wharfe is 100m to the north of the church; the village of Collingham is now regarded as a suburb of Leeds – the city centre being about 2 miles to the south-west.

The Runic Cross.

The Runic Cross.

    The taller and more impressive of the two shafts which stand at the east end of the aisle is called ‘The Runic Cross’ or ‘The Aerswith Cross’, and may date from the late 9th century AD. This is made up of two sections joined together. It is carved with three intertwined dragons, two of which are in opposition to the other. These creatures are of the Viking “Jelling” style of designwork that was flourishing in the 9th-10th century AD. There is also scrollwork, interlacing and knot-work which is more Anglo Saxon in origin. Around the base of this shaft there is a runic inscription which has not yet been deciphered.

    According to the authoress Ella Pontefract in her delightfully beautiful work ‘The Charm Of Yorkshire Churches’, this stone cross….. “has been thought to have been used at the dedication of a monastery built by Queen Eanflaed in the 7th century in memory of Oswini whom her husband had caused to be murdered.” Pontefract goes on to say that “the finding of the runic cross has also been thought to indicate Collingham as the site of the monastery of Ingetlingum, not Gilling, as Bede recorded.”  W.G. Collingwood (1854-1932) the English author and antiquarian, however, does not find the name, Oswini, on the runic inscription, and so he dates the cross as late as the 9th century AD, the Transitional period between Anglian and Danish.

     St Eanflaed or Enfleda (d 704) was the daughter of King Edwin of Northumbria. She was abbess of Whitby. In 651 her husband King Oswiu of Bernicia murdered his own brother, Oswini, and Eanflaed then persuaded her husband to found the monastery of Gilling in reparation for his sins. In 670 after her husband’s death she became abbess of Whitby, north Yorkshire. Glastonbury Abbey ‘claimed’ to have the relics of St Eanflaed (David Farmer, 2004). The first abbot of Gilling, west Yorkshire, was called Trumhere. Some scholars think the monastery of Gilling was in North Yorkshire, near Ripon?

The Apostles Cross.

The Apostles Cross.

    The shorter cross-shaft is called ‘The Apostles Cross’ and, like the Runic Cross, it was dug up from the floor of the church during restoration work between 1840-41. It is said to date from the beginning of the 9th century AD.

     This shorter cross-shaft is made up of two sections joined together, and is so named because it is adorned with representations of eleven Apostles with halos and each in their own round-headed arch. It is quite probably part of a much taller Anglian cross – the top section of which is missing. However, it is conject-ured that two of these ‘Apostolic figures’ could perhaps be representations of Christ, and the Virgin Mary with the Christ-child? There is also cable-pattern moulding design. The date of this cross had been fixed at about 800 AD, although it is generally now considered to date from the 9th-10th century AD. Also housed in the church is a cross-arm and sections of other crosses, which again date from pre-Conquest times.

    There is also a rare cresset stone. The authoress Ella Pontefract says of this stone: “An 8th century cresset is interesting, a flat, round stone with a cup-shaped hollow in the centre in which a light burnt perpetually before the sanctuary, and seven smaller cups round the edge for the days of the week. Their lights were used to relight cottage fires if accidentally extinguished.”

    On the west window-sill there is a Medieval stone coffin lid with sculptured cross. Built into the north vestry wall is part of a consecration cross, while at either sides of the south door there are interesting 17th century grave slabs. The south wall still has traces of Saxon workmanship, and Early English columns supporting the arches of the arcades survive. Author Frank Bottomley gives a bit more detail in his work ‘Yorkshire Churches’. He says that: “Apart from Perp. tower, exterior reflects heavy restoration of 1841 but some of fabric may be A/S. North arcade c. 1200 and aisle Perp.”

Sources:-

Bottomley, Frank, Yorkshire Churches, Alan Sutton Publishing Limited, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 1993.

Farmer, David, Oxford Dictionary Of Saints, Oxford University Press, 2004.

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

http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=11513

Pontefract, Ella, The Charm Of Yorkshire Churches, The Yorkshire Weekly Post, Leeds, 1937. [The two illustrations of the cross-shafts in Collingham church are by Marie Hartley, daughter of the authoress Ella Pontefract].


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The Walton Cross, Hartshead, West Yorkshire

    OS grid reference: SE 1761 2379. The Walton Cross stands beside a footpath at the western side of Hartshead village, in Kirklees District, west Yorkshire. But in fact it is now only part of what was originally quite a tall Anglo Saxon preaching cross, dating perhaps from the 9th or 10th century, but the carvings on this ancient cross-base are outstandingly beautiful. It is located 20m along a footpath running off the B6119 (Windy Bank Lane) and opposite Second Avenue. It is at the north-side of Walton Farm. Originally it stood in a field on private land, but a kindly, caring farmer who bought the land decided to build a footpath running directly to the cross. About ¼ of a mile to the south-east is St Peter’s church, an 11th century building but with more recent work, too. There is a holy well (Lady Well) near the church.

    The Walton cross-base stands at 1.5m (5 feet) in height and 1.1m (3 ft 6′) in width. It is a highly sculptured block of gritstone with large, double-edged panels on its sides that have beautiful designs and imagery. It was conjectured to date from between 900-1000 AD. Scholars now date it to the 11th century. According to Ella Pontefract in her masterpiece of work ‘The Charm Of Yorkshire Churches’: the west face has a cross (large rosette knot) within a circle that is supported by two winged figures, while the east face has a tree with two birds on each side, maybe a representation of ‘the Tree of Life’, a Viking image, and the north and south faces have interlacing knotwork – reminiscent perhaps of Celtic workmanship. Long ago this wayside preaching cross (waymarker) would have stood very tall, maybe 15 feet, and how beautiful it must have looked, but sadly the rest of the cross has long since disappeared – though to where it went we do not know. It is also interesting to know that originally the Walton Cross may have been painted in bright colours. The circle with rosette knot is the logo for ‘The West Yorkshire Archaeological Service‘.

    The authoress goes on to say that: W.G. Collingwood the English author and antiquary (1854-1932) suggested that the cross is the “Wagestan” (Wage Stone), which was mentioned in the 12th century foundation charter of Kirkless Priory, near Mirfield, west Yorkshire. The socket hole at the top of the cross-base is often filled with water that is, or was, used to cure warts, and a few coins are sometimes deposited in the water!

Sources:-

Bull, Malcolm, The West Yorkshire Archaeology Service (WYAS), The Calderdale Companion.

http://www.archaeology.wyjs.org.uk/vikingweb/hartshead.htm

Click on this web-blog by Kai Roberts:  https://lowercalderlegends.wordpress.com/tag/hartshead/

http://wyrduk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/hartshead-church-walton-cross-and-robin.html

Pontefract, Ella, The Charm Of Yorkshire Churches, The Yorkshire Weekly Post, Leeds, 1937.