Salford Cross Cup-Marks, Oxfordshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SP 28644 28058

Getting Here

Pretty simple this one.  From Chipping Norton, head west on the A44 for a coupla miles till you hit the lovely Salford village.  The church stands out, so head for it and, as you walk towards the building, watch for the small stone cross in front of you.

Archaeology & History

Salford Cross cup-markings

This is curious.  Very curious!  We might expect to find cup-markings occasionally on some of the cross-bases or other early christian monuments in northern England and Scotland, but to find them in the heart of a small Oxfordshire village where the tradition of cup-marked stones is unknown, was something of a surprise when Tom Wilson and I (1999) found it, to say the least!  But this is what we’re looking at here.

Salford Cross remains

On the remains of an old medieval cross, whose broken shaft has seen better days,  as the photo shows — and as a personal viewing shows even clearer — there are 3 simple cup-markings etched on one side of the cross-base in Salford churchyard.   The cups certainly aint natural, but then also they don’t have the archaic looks of the prehistoric carvings from Yorkshire to Scotland.  It would be good if we had a more extensive history of the cross monument itself, perhaps saying precisely where the stones which make it up came from, but local records tell us nothing it seems.  If we could ascertain that parts of it were made up of some remains taken from some local prehistoric ‘pagan’ tomb (and a number of tombs have been found in and around this area), then some sense could be thrown upon its position here.  But until we can ascertain more about the history of the cross, the three clear cup-markings on the cross-base remain somewhat of a mystery.

Folklore

Lovers of ley lore will be intrigued to find this carved cross-base is on a very accurate ley linking the King Stone, Rollright stone circle, Little Rollright church (where a standing stone can be found in the walling just before it), the Salford Cross and the site of another cross on the hill outside the village.

References:

  1. Bennett, Paul & Wilson, Tom, The Old Stones of Rollright and District, Cockley: London 1999.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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About megalithix

Occultist, prehistorian and independent archaeological researcher, specializing in prehistoric rock art, Neolithic, Bronze Age & Iron Age sites, and the animistic cosmologies of pre-Christian & traditional cultures.
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