Mount Cross, Cornholme, Todmorden, West Yorkshire

Cross:  OS Grid Reference – SD 91460 27280

Also Known as:

  1. Idol Cross

Getting Here

Mount Cross, near Cornholme

Mount Cross, near Cornholme

The site can be approached by going up the almost hidden long steep winding lane off the A646 in Cornholme; but if you don’t know the area it’s probably best approached from the well known Bride Stones, above Todmorden.  From here, go west along the road running 100 yards or so above the Bride Stones, past the old pub, past Hawk Stones farm, and turning left downhill about a quarter-mile on.  A coupla 100 yards down, there’s a track to your left.  As you start walking along you’ll see a standing stone on the grassy rise in front of you on your left.  That’s it!

Archaeology & History

Said by local writer Geoff Boswell (1986) to be “the oldest religious memorial in Todmorden,” this old stone, more than 4-feet tall, is still in good condition and can be found beside the Old Causeway: a prehistoric trackway running between Lancashire and Yorkshire which is said by archaeologists to have been an old, but established trade route.  It was suggested by some to have been erected as a cross as early as the 7th century.  Generally known as the Mount Cross, it is also known as the Idol Cross, as legend reputes it to have been the site of pagan practices; hence its repute as being haunted. Its alleged heathen history is probably true (history records describe an old “rude stone” that was once found beneath the legendary Bride Stones nearby, which was moved many centuries back).

The Calderdale Council website tells that, “Towards the bottom of the shaft on the NE side are what appears to be extremely faint traces of vine-scroll decoration which would suggest a fairly early date for the cross, possibly tenth or eleventh century. The irregularity of the carving overall tends to indicate that the cross is no earlier.”

Folklore

Said to have stood upon or beside a small tumulus until the 20th century. Jessica Lofthouse (1976) reported that a local farmer said of this stone. “Queer things happened here long since. They worshipped idols here.” Locally attributed to be haunted, the old stone was said to have a history of “uncanny happenings.”

…to be continued…

References:

  1. Bennett, P., The Old Stone Crosses of West Yorkshire, unpublished MS, 1995.
  2. Boswell, Geoff, On the Tops around Todmorden, Delta G: Todmorden 1986.
  3. Lofthouse, Jessica, North Country Folklore, Hale: London 1976.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

The Northern Antiquarian – Charity Number SCO-46359

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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.
This entry was posted in Brigantia (Northern England), Crosses, Yorkshire, West and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Mount Cross, Cornholme, Todmorden, West Yorkshire

  1. Kai Roberts says:

    Can you elaborate on its reputation for being haunted? I don’t think I’ve come across any mention of that before.

  2. megalithix says:

    HI Kai – I can’t get to all mi notes on this item at the mo, as we’re slowly packing to move house in the next fortnight. There are several lengthy articles on this cross, not listed in the references above, and the info either comes from them, or those cited. Might be worth checking Jessica Lofthouse’s book – I think it may be in that one (my copy is in one of the boxes, packed away ready to move). But from what I can recall, the description telling it to be haunted gives very little more detail.

  3. Kai Roberts says:

    Cheers Paul. There’s not much more in the Lofthouse book (one of my all-time favourite tomes!) than what you’ve quoted, and I’ve got a photocopy of the Halifax Antiquarian Society paper on the Long Causeway crosses but can’t recall anything regarding a haunting mentioned in that. Don’t worry about following it up though if you don’t think there’s much more detail. I hope the move all goes smoothly!

  4. sunbright57 says:

    I think its the case that many ancient crosses and, some more recent ones, are haunted. Many other ancient sites are thought to be haunted.

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