The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland

Te Deum Stone, Withens Gate, West Yorkshire

Te Deum Stone at Withens Gate.

OS Grid Reference: SD 9720 2300. This medieval marker or boundary stone stands close to a wall at Withens Gate, Langfield Moor, between Cragg Vale and Mankinholes on the Calderdale Way footpath above Todmorden. It has been referred to as a coffin stone, stoop stone, boundary marker and marker stone. The name Withens Cross has also be ascribed to it by some historians.

The stubby little stone is now only a few feet high – originally it was much taller but vandalism over the years has damaged it. But in 1956 it was restored to what we see today by The Hebden Bridge Local History Society. On it’s front side there is a thin incised Latin cross and below that two letters in Latin TD which are translated as being Te Deum Laudamus or ‘We praise Thee, O Lord’, whilst on the opposite face the letters BG TB, which were perhaps carved in more recent times, indicating that the stone has been in use as a boundary marker.

Originally the stone was in use as a “coffin rest”. Coffins were carried along the old packhorse route across the Pennines between Cragg Vale, Mankinholes and Lumbutts, then placed on top of the stone and prayers said for the deceased before the journey was continued to its final resting place. There are a number of similar stones in this area and eleswhere, some with quite intricate carved crosses and lettering – most of them probably dating from the 15th or 16th century.