Cross: OS Grid Reference — SD 71217 39613
Also Known as:
- Toot Hill Cross
From Great Mitton village centre, take the B6246 road NW turning right up the B6243 road a quarter-mile past Great Mitton Hall. Same distance again, and just after where the road bends left, on the same side of the road you’ll see a wooden bus-stop. The site is just on the grass next to it.
Archaeology & History
In a region with many old crosses hiding away in the landscape, we have very little history about this particular wayside cross and its stony base, found below the western edge of Toot Hill. It will no doubt have had something to do with the monks of the once-prestigious Whalley Abbey a few miles away, but we know not what! The great Lancastrian historian John Dixon would, no doubt, have known something of this place, but he is sadly no longer with us… The only thing I can presently find is a passing mention in Fred Ackerley’s (1947) local history work, who told:
“Continuing along the high road past Mitton Green one sees the base of a roadside cross and directly opposite this cross-base is Toot Hill, where in ancient times it is probable that village meetings were held.”
Toot not being a just “a look-out hill” (Smith 1954), but in some cases places where ancient temples were built, “upon high totes” — though we have no record of such a temple, christian or heathen, upon this hill. So the reason for the stone cross at the bottom remains a mystery. Although, atop of the hill, we see marks very reminiscent of something much more archaic and heathen in nature, still visible in the crop-marks…
- Ackerley, Frederick George, A History of the Parish of Mitton in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Aberdeen University Press 1947.
- Smith, A.H., English Place-Name Elements – volume 2, Cambridge University Press 1956.
Acknowledegments: Big thanks to Big Dan for use of his photos. Cheers fella!
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian