Town Cross, Alloa, Clackmannanshire

Cross:  OS Grid Reference – NS 88559 92686

Also Known as:

  1. Burgh Cross
  2. Canmore ID 47169
  3. Market Cross
  4. Mercat Cross

Getting Here

Alloa Cross, Bank Street

Get into the small town of Alloa, where the buses stand at Shillinghill.  From here walk southwest down Mill Street, which runs into Bank Street.  Keep your eyes peeled on your right-hand side, where outside one of the old municipal buildings you’ll see it standing upright.

Archaeology & History

Although now standing against the old buildings halfway down Bank Street, Alloa’s Mercat or Burgh Cross was initially set up at the crossroads 162 yards (148m) away, where Mar Street meets Mill Street and Bank Street.  It was moved to its present position sometime in the 1880s and knowledge of its early history is scant.

John Small’s sketch of Alloa Cross

Standing some 10 feet tall, the monument was described in John Small’s (1900) rare magnum opus, where he details the architectural features of the monument, telling:

“The shaft, which rests on a base and three steps, is of the usual square section, with splayed angles, stoped at top and bottom, the top stop being rather peculiar.  The head of the Cross is composed of an oblong stone set upright, characteristic of the late type seen in Keikleour and Kinrossie.  The oblong is ornamented at the sides with debased volutes and acanthus leaves, the whole crowned by a wreath from which rises a griffin’s head, part of the supporters of the Arms of the Lords of the Manor, Lord Mar and Kellie.”

References:

  1. Anonymous, The Alloa Illustrated Family Almanac, MacGregor & Steedman: Alloa 1887.
  2. Mair, Craig, Mercat Cross and Tolbooth, John Donald: Edinburgh 1988.
  3. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the Counties of Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan, HMSO: Edinburgh 1933.
  4. Small, John W., Scottish Market Crosses, Eneas Mackay: Stirling 1900.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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The Grey Lady, Lundie, Angus

Standing Stone (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NO 3069 3609

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 31894

Getting Here

Grey Lady on 1860 OS-map

The site of the stone is on the top of a ridge due west of Lundie Castle and is best approached from the minor road between Lundie and Denhead, but at the time of my site visit a steel gate had been erected across the field just before the site of the stone together with a large festoon of electric fencing, which I did not cross.

Archaeology & History

The Grey Lady stood on the near grassy horizon

The Ordnance Survey name book describes the stone, the informants being Mr. Pattullo junior and Mr. Bett of Pitermo:

This name is applied to a Standing Stone a little to the west of Lundie Castle. It is about 4 feet high, between two & three broad & rather a Kidney Shape. …Some think of druidical origin, but young Pattullo intends to blast it shortly“.

The rough grass probably marks where she stood.

And indeed it seems the feckless youth did have his wicked way with The Grey Lady, who had been a landmark for millennia, for she sadly no longer exists. In view of the folklore attaching to the stone, it may be worth speculating whether the kidney shape denoted a lunar symbolism for the stone.

Folklore

The OS name book states:

“The ladies of Lundie Castle have romance connected with it – that a white lady is to be seen walking round it on a certain night of every new moon.”

Reference:

  1. Ordnance Survey Name Book; Forfarshire (Angus) volume 66 (1857-61)

© Paul T. Hornby, The Northern Antiquarian 2017

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Barton Cross, Barton, Preston, Lancashire

Wayside Cross: OS Grid Reference – SD 53502 37332

Also Known as:

  1. Historic England Grade II Listed Building No. 1073555

Getting Here

The Barton Cross from the road, showing the original socketed base and the cup marked paving stone to the right.

The cross is at the roadside on the south side of Barton Lane at the cross roads with the minor road between Cross House Farm and Barton House.

Archaeology and History

All that survives is the socketed base of a mediaeval cross on a raised paved platform with low raised square section pillars at each corner. Behind the original cross socket stands a large stone block (Described in the Historic England citation as “probably part of a cheese press“) surmounted by a pyramidal block upon which a modern carved stone cross has been placed.

Henry Taylor (1906) writes in his Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire:

The South face of the Cross

Barton Cross. These words occur on the map in ancient Gothic letters in Barton Lane, one and a half miles in a westerly direction from Goosnargh Church, showing that in the year 1848 a complete cross stood here. The site is at the intersection of country lanes, and the map shows a small recess or lay-bye in which the cross was planted. Mr. Collinson [Reverend S.E. Collinson, Vicar of Broughton] writes that the base was thrown into a neighbouring pit at the time Daniel’s pedestal was buried. The base and part of the shaft of the Barton Cross have lately been restored to the old site. A new cross has been erected just behind by Mr. Myerscough.
Mr. Collinson tells me that in going through some of the old parish registers he found an entry referring to ‘Barton Christ’. He not unnaturally thinks that there must have been a figure on the Cross giving rise to the name. Nothing else would account for it. The neighbourhood of Barton (a pre-Norman settlement) is interesting and deserves a thorough investigation.

The ‘Daniel’s pedestal’ refers to Daniels Cross, near Broughton, of which Taylor writes:

The base was removed about sixty years ago. It is now in a neighbouring pit. The facts were obtained from an old man who helped at the destruction of this landmark.”

The 1895 6″ map showing the Cross, with the nearby marl-pits coloured blue

The pyramidal stone block upon which the modern cross stands is inscribed on the northern face: “Barton Cross re-erected by Councillor R. Myerscough of Preston 1901” while the southern face is inscribed: “Refurbished by Barton Parish council 2000“.

One of the paving stones that surround the cross has pre-historic cup markings on it, and is the subject of a separate site profile.

Bearing in mind what was written about the original cross having been ‘thrown into a neighbouring pit’, it may be worth probing the nearby marl pits to see whether the original could be found.

Reference:

  1. Taylor, Henry, The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, Manchester, Sherratt and Hughes, 1906

© Paul T. Hornby, The Northern Antiquarian 2017

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Cow Keeper’s Field (1), Boulby, Easington, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 7540 1922

Also Known as:

  1. BOU-5 (Brown & Chappell)

Archaeology & History

Cup-marked stone inside Cow keepers Field tomb

Inside the once prominent prehistoric tomb on the Cow Keeper’s Field, the northern antiquarians William Hornsby and John Laverick (1920) came across two small petroglyphs in association with a cremation burial, several feet south of the central cist: the Cow Keeper’s Field 2 carving, plus this small, triangular-shaped stone, 8in by 6in, consisting of five standard cup-marks, with two of the cups (as the photo shows) connected to each other.  It is akin to the numerous ‘portable’ cup-marked stones which, in other cultures, were deposited onto cairns in remembrance of the ancestral spirits of the tomb.  Such widespread practices may also have occurred here.  Petroglyph researcher and writer Graeme Chappell (2017) informed us that the carving “is in storage in the Dorman museum in Middlesborough.”

References:

  1. Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Chappell, Graeme, Personal communication, October 4, 2017.
  3. Crawford, G.M., Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, Cleveland County Council 1990.
  4. Elgee, Frank, Early Man in North-East Yorkshire, John Bellows: Gloucester 1930.
  5. Hornsby, William & Laverick, John D., “British Barrows round Boulby,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 25, 1920.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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Cow Keeper’s Field (2), Boulby, Easington, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 7540 1922

Also Known as:

  1. BOU-5 (Brown & Chappell)

Archaeology & History

Cup-marks and linear forms

Inside the once prominent prehistoric tumulus on the Cow Keeper’s Field (now destroyed), the northern antiquarians William Hornsby and John Laverick (1920) came across two small portable petroglyphs: the Cow Keeper’s Field 1 carving, plus this “peculiarly marked stone” as they put it, some “5ft south of the centre” where a cist, or stone-lined burial existed.  Measuring 18in by 7in, the rock carving consists of at least one large cup-marking which is clearly evident on top of the stone, plus what seems to be another one next to it, half-covered.  Along the side of the stone, a series of twelve roughly parallel lines have been carved out, running down to the bottom of the stone.  Rock art researcher and writer Graeme Chappell (2017) tells us the carving is supposed to be “in storage in the Dorman museum in Middlesborough,” although no one has seen it in years.  It would be worthwhile if fellow research students could visit the said museum to recover this and other portable cup-marked stones that were found in the area.

References:

  1. Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Chappell, Graeme, Personal communication, October 4, 2017.
  3. Crawford, G.M., Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, Cleveland County Council 1990.
  4. Elgee, Frank, Early Man in North-East Yorkshire, John Bellows: Gloucester 1930.
  5. Hornsby, William & Laverick, John D., “British Barrows round Boulby,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 25, 1920.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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Cow Keepers Field, Boulby, Easington, North Yorkshire

Tumulus (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NZ 7540 1922

Also Known as:

  1. Boulby Barns

Archaeology & History

This prehistoric tomb was one in a cluster of tumuli in the Boulby district, uncovered by the northern antiquarians, William Hornsby and John Laverick in 1918.   Most of them have subsequently been destroyed – this one included.  When they visited the site, they described it as “a barrow…with a diameter of 36 feet.”  Once they began digging into it,

“at the centre we found a cist, the top of which was 2ft 7in below the present surface. The cist lay north 64° west, and south 64° east.  It had no cover and the slab at the north-west end was wanting.  The cist measured: side 3ft 6in, end 3ft 2in.  Its depth was 2ft 2in.  In it we found nothing except sandstone chips.  With these there was no admixture of soil. Above the cist and covering a space of 5 ft by 5 ft there was a layer of burnt earth and black ashes (of furze bushes).  At a distance of 5 ft south of the centre, and 1ft 10in below the present surface, there was a burnt burial, 20in in diameter.  With this we found many flint chips, a shale pendant, and the peculiarly marked stone” we’ve called, simply the Cow Keeper’s Field 2 carving.

A second cup-marked stone was also found inside the tomb, a few feet south of the cist. When G.M. Crawford went to survey the burial mound in the late 1970s, he reported “there is no trace of it” and “has probably been destroyed by ploughing.”

References:

  1. Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Crawford, G.M., Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, Cleveland County Council 1990.
  3. Elgee, Frank, Early Man in North-East Yorkshire, John Bellows: Gloucester 1930.
  4. Hornsby, William & Laverick, John D., “British Barrows round Boulby,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 25, 1920.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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Lytham Cross, Lytham, Lancashire

Wayside Cross: OS Grid Reference – SD 3603 2718

Getting Here

Roadside position of the cross

The cross is situated in a small railed enclosure adjoining the pavement on the North side of Church Road on the west side of Lytham, opposite Lowther Gardens.

Archaeology & History

Henry Taylor (1906), author of The Ancient Crosses And Holy Wells Of Lancashire, writes:

“The old market place of Lytham is triangular in shape…Church Road leads out of it, and not far from the church the pedestal of an ancient cross was at one time to be seen. The words ‘Site of Benedictine Priory’ occur on the map close to Lytham Hall, indicating the position of this small religious house, dedicated to SS Mary and Cuthbert, and subject to Durham.”

The mediaeval base set into the pavement in 2009

Lieutenant-Colonel Fishwick writes in his History of the Parish of Lytham:

“Not far from the Parish church on the road to Blackpool is still to be seen the stone socket of a cross, and tradition says that it marks one of the resting places of the body of St. Cuthbert when carried to Durham”

All that survives of the mediaeval original is the socketed base, into which a modern carved stone cross has been inserted. A bronze plaque attached to the cross reads:  “According to ancient tradition the body of St Cuthbert about the year 882AD once rested here.”

The modern cross with its bronze plaque.

It is not known whether the destruction of the original cross was the handywork of the local ‘Cross Smasher’ Rev. Richard Wilkinson.

According to an online source, The Very Reverend Monsignor Gradley commissioned a painting by Charles E. Turner entitled: ‘The Monks of Lindisfarne arriving at Lytham with the body of St. Cuthbert, A.D. 878’, intended to be hung in St Joseph’s Seminary, Upholland.  Gradley wrote in the October 1889 edition of Merry England magazine:-

” In 875 Halfdene invaded Bernicia, the northern portion of Northumbria, . . . Lindisfarne was no longer a safe place for the monks, and they dared no longer expose their great treasure, the relics of St. Cuthbert, to the ruthless impiety of the northern hordes, With their Bishop Eardulf they set out on a weary pilgrimage of seven years.… From Yorkshire they proceeded to Lancashire, and as we find that the holy relics rested at Mellor, near Blackburn, we may suppose they would journey through Ribblesdale, passing on their way the ruined city of Bolmetonacae, the modern Ribchester. They were a numerous company, for besides the venerable Bishop Eardulf there were the Abbot of Carlisle, the monks of Lindisfarne, and many of the natives of that island. In going to Lytham it is probable the party would pass through Preston, where a few houses had gathered about the church built in honour of St. Wilfrid, the great contemporary of St. Cuthbert.

‘The Monks of Lindisfarne arriving at Lytham with the body of St. Cuthbert, A.D. 878’, by Charles E. Turner.

Their way from Preston to Lytham lay through a country abounding in forest and fen. But they would have the advantage of the old Roman road as far as Kirkham. However, the pilgrims met with a hospitable reception, and to this day Lytham is the seaside home of St. Cuthbert on our western coast.”

A small plaque on an adjacent bench records that the cross was re-dedicated by the Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, M.A., Dean of Durham on Sunday 6th September 2009.

References:

  1. Taylor, Henry, The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, Manchester, Sherratt and Hughes, 1906.
  2. Fishwick, Lieutenant-Colonel, The History of the Parish of Lytham in the County of Lancaster, Manchester, The Chetham Society, 1907.
  3. Gradley, Most Reverend Monsignor, Article in the October 1889 edition of Merry England magazine, abstracted by http://www.amounderness.co.uk

Acknowledgements:  With thanks to Sue Ybarras for directing me to this site.

© Paul T. Hornby, The Northern Antiquarian 2017

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The Falls (1), Boulby, Easington, North Yorkshire

Cairn:  OS Grid Reference – NZ 74954 19429

Also Known as:

  1. Rockcliff Beacon

Archaeology & History

Tumulus on 1920 map

Occupying a prominent position above the ever-closer North Sea, upon which an old beacon was subsequently placed, this denuded prehistoric tomb was first surveyed by the Ordnance Survey lads in 1913, and subsequently in an essay by Messers Hornsby & Laverick (1920) on the ancient sites of Boulby, east of Easington.  This was the first one they explored, calling it ‘Mound No.1.”  They located it,

“due south of the ‘Soldier’s Garth’ in the east corner of the field called The Falls.  It was a cairn with a diameter of 50ft.  Two-and-a-half feet northwest of the centre peg, at a depth of 21 inches below the present surface, there was an unaccompanied burnt burial, which occupied a space of 15in by 18in.  In a centre cut 7ft 6in by 6ft, at a depth of 3ft 6in, we found much burnt bone and many potsherds of the Bronze Age type, scattered over the whole space of the trench, down to a further depth of 3ft 10½in.  In the south corner there were four stones set on edge and running in a direct (straight) line.  The interment had been placed upon the clay, the soil of the original surface having been cleaned off.  With this burial we found a good flint made from a polished celt and worn smooth at the point—possibly through having been used for striking fire on iron pyrites—many chips and several cupstones.”

The “several” cup-marked stones they describe at the end seem to have been lost; perhaps sleeping in some museum cellar somewhere (does anyone know?).

This cairn was one in a complex of eight that Frank Elgee (1930) suggested may have been laid out deliberately in the form of the constellation of Ursa Major, or The Plough, also known as ‘Charles Wain’.

References:

  1. Brown, Paul & Chappell, Graeme, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors, Tempus: Stroud 2005.
  2. Crawford, G.M., Bronze Age Burial Mounds in Cleveland, Cleveland County Council 1990.
  3. Elgee, Frank, Early Man in North-East Yorkshire, John Bellows: Gloucester 1930.
  4. Hornsby, William & Laverick, John D., “British Barrows round Boulby,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, volume 25, 1920.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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Stump Cross, Goosnargh, Lancashire

Wayside Cross:  OS Grid Reference – SD 57287 37421

Also Known as:

  1. Historic England Grade II Listed Building No. 1165108

Getting Here

The Position of the Cross near the road junction.

The cross is situated on the verge at the west side of the B5269 road near its junction with Ashley Lane at Stump Cross, north-east of Goosnargh.

Archaeology & History

All that survives is the socketed base of the mediaeval cross, into which a small modern carved stone cross has been inserted. A bronze plaque attached to the base informs the reader that the cross gives its name to the locality, and that the base was discovered during excavations in 1931.

Richard Cookson (1888), in his Goosnargh Past & Present, writes:

“We have the remains of several upright crosses in this township called “cross stones” all being placed near to some public road or path. The corpses of the Roman Catholics are rested at those stones on their way to internment, and those funeral attendants who are of that persuasion kneel down and offer up a short prayer for the repose of the soul of the departed individual whose body they are conveying to the grave.”

Further to the destruction of crosses in the township, Cookson writes:

“…the Reverend Richard Wilkinson, late minister, of anti-Romanistic notoriety, in his frenzied hostility to the Roman Catholics, caused [the cross] to be broken up and removed…”

The site is listed by Henry Taylor, in his 1906 magnum opus on Lancashire crosses, and speaking generally on the destruction of wayside crosses in the Hundred of Amounderness, he writes:-

The modern cross inserted into the Mediaeval socket

“The destruction of so many crosses, which at one time existed in this part of the Hundred, is due to the vandalism early in the nineteenth century of a vicar of Goosnargh, named Wilkinson. He was a vehement Protestant, and owing to his notoriety as a Prophet, was allowed to do much as he liked with these ancient monuments. Many crosses, indeed, it is said, were pulled down with his own hands. His prophesies foretelling the deaths of various persons often unfortunately came true, and he was thus, in this superstitious part of England, dreaded as a wizard. As this work of demolition took place before the date of the Ordnance Survey, there were in all probability many more crosses erected in Mediaeval times in this district than we have now any knowledge of, and it is quite possible that some of the crosses so recklessly destroyed may have been, like those at Halton and Heysham, of pre-Norman date and of great historical value. Fragments of them might even now be found were a diligent search be made.”

The bronze plaque

Further to this speculation as to the antiquity of these destroyed crosses, it is interesting to note the approximately parallel orientation of roads and field boundaries to the east of the Stump Cross. This may point to the area having been subjected to Roman survey, and the site of the Stump Cross having once been a shrine to the gods of the agrimensores (Roman surveyors) that had been Christianised.

References:

  1. Cookson, Richard, Goosnargh: Past and Present, Preston, H.Oakey, 1888.
  2. Taylor, Henry, The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, Manchester, Sherratt and Hughes, 1906.
  3. Richardson, Alan, The Roman Surveyors in Cumberland, P3 Publications: Carlisle 2008.

© Paul T Hornby, The Northern Antiquarian 2017

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Handsome Cross Circle, High Bradfield, South Yorkshire

Stone Circle (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SK 26 94

Archaeology & History

This lost ring of stones was one many sites that could once be found in this area.  It was written about in John Watson’s (1776) essay on the local antiquities, where, in describing places he thought were druidical remains (like the prehistoric Bar Dike and Apronful of Stones cairn), he told that

“There is something also of this sort on the other side of Bardike on Bradfield Common; in particular a circle of about eight yards diameter composed of twelve stones, and a confused heap in the centre, near Handsome Cross, and the faint remains of two larger not far off.”

Subsequent local historians like Joseph Hunter (1819) and Harold Armitage (1939) mention the place, with Armitage giving the impression that remains of it could be seen in his lifetime, but today we are at a loss to known its exact position and nature.  By the sound of Watson’s initial description, this circle sounded as if a cairn of some sort was in the centre, giving it more a funerary nature than an open stone circle.  But we don’t know for certain. This is also what John Barnatt (1990) posited in his local survey.

Based on the landscape, an initial analysis would place the circle most probably at SK 2615 9424, close to where the Handsome Cross itself stood—but this is conjectural.  The natural landscape hereby has been ruined by extensive farming and forestry, so any remains of it seem improbable.

References:

  1. Armitage, Harold, Early Man in Hallamshire, Sampson Low: London 1939.
  2. Barnatt, John, Stone Circles of Britain – volume 2, BAR: Oxford 1989.
  3. Barnatt, John, The Henges, Stone Circles and Ringcairns of the Peak District, University of Sheffield 1990.
  4. Hunter, Joseph, Hallamshire: The History and Topography of the Parish of Sheffield, Lackington: London 1819.
  5. Morgan, Paul & Vicki, Rock around the Peak, Sigma 2001.
  6. Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire – volume 1, Cambridge University Press 1961.
  7. Watson, John, “An Account of some Hitherto Undescribed Remains of Antiquity“, in Archaeologia, volume 5, 1776.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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