Cross: OS Grid Reference – SD 890 423
Not hard to locate. From Colne head up to Foulridge via the skipton Road and as you get to the middle of the town ask find the cenotaph just off the main road.
Archaeology & History
The Maiden or Tailor’s Cross has at least two old traditions attached to the site, which local historians think originate from the Civil War period. The first tells of a Royalist tailor who – sensibly – refused to make uniforms for Oliver Cromwell’s traitorous soldiers; but as a result, the poor tailor was shot by the troops and the remains of his body were placed over the old stone cross as a warning to his fellow workers. If you look closely on the cross you can see a crude carving of what looks like a pair of scissors or shears, and it is this carved symbol which has seemingly given birth to the legend of the tailor. There may, of course, be some truth in the story; but the carved shears is more likely an old Masonic carving – though quite who did it and when isn’t known.
The other legend is the one which apparently gave birth to the title of the Maiden’s Cross. It tells of a certain Margaret Burnard whose husband went into battle (on the side of the treacherous Cromwell), but who agreed before he set out that she should wait for him for to return by the side of the old cross; and this she did each and every day, waiting for her husband, Robert, to come back from the Civil War. But he was one of the many who died in the Battle of Marston Moor. However, Margaret refused to accept his death and returned to the cross each evening to their agreed meeting place. The story goes that Margaret herself herself was eventually killed by Royalist soldiers – and her body was buried at the cross where she had so often waited in vain.
It seems likely that this old cross originally replaced an old ‘heathen’ site in Foulridge. Several such spots were known here, though virtually nothing now remains. But notices of these sites will appear on TNA in the near future.
- Oldland, F., The Story of Foulridge, PHCL: Pendle 1990.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian