The following information that I found about a cross at Todmorden in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, may prove illuminating (it looks as if the same information is repeated on web pages for other crosses registered as ancient monuments in Calderdale). The narrative may be a bit Yorks.- and Southwest-centric since it does not seem to take allowance of the large number of crosses that I know of and that we have been picturing in the Merseyside area. The description also applies to the authentically medieval crosses of course as well, and not to Victorian or 20th Century crosses such as the one pictured above for the King's Regiment.
Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on pilgrimages.
Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to remote moorland locations.
Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a 'Latin' cross, in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or 'wheel', head on the faces of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the 'Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the North York Moors Group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed base or show no evidence for a separate base at all.
Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earthfast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.
Wonderful thread and such great pics. Chris has mentioned the wayside crosses at Thornton. There were numerous crosses which were utilised in this way. Makes you think about how difficult it was to transport the dead across often heavily wooded or boggy land to get to churches for burial (what a job). In the case of the Thornton, it was one of (so local knowledge around here goes) 12 or so which led from the coast to St Helens Church in Sefton Village (between Netherton and Maghull) Those washed up on the shores of the Mersey were carried a distance of near 7 miles to this lovely church for burial. Not only do we have these lovely crosses but we also have a magic well!!! St Helens Well is situated not far from the Thornton Cross and in a field near the Punchbowl Pub. After we finish crosses perhaps we could do one on wells. I havent seen any other steams or wells with reputed magic or healing powers except St Helens and the one in St James Cemetery.
After they removed the spire from the church tower:
That shot looks good framed with the branches
Cross and milestone, Ince Blundell. I know a few crosses around Sefton, which I'll pick-off this summer. These are at the Northern Boundary of Ince Blundell (junction of Lady Green Lane/Scaffold Lane)
look forward to them Marky. be nice to see places I can't get to
What about the cross in Woolton Village ?
Will have to try and post a photo of it (if no one does it before me!)
When I photographed Cronton Cross (post No. 57), I'd intended to also photograph Rainhill Cross, but I didn't have the time. Now through the wonders of Google Streetview, here it is:
Someone already has this on Flickr:
One of the ancient Liverpool crosses was called St Patrick's Cross does anyone have access to any drawings of it? There are some intriguing traditions in Liverpool associated with St Patrick that may have originated in the 10th Century settlement of the area by Vikings from Ireland rather than St Patrick himself. Here is a webpage about this Irish Viking settlement:-
Thomas Burke discusses St Patrick's Cross in his "Catholic History of Liverpool":-
"By this time the Jesuits had built a chapel in Lumber Street, Old Hall Street, and dedicated it to the Blessed Virgin under the title of St. Mary. It was in the fitness of things that the site was chosen. Hard by was the pre-Reformation foundation in Chapel Street, while in the immediate neighbourhood was the spot where a well-founded tradition says St. Patrick preached on his way to the Isle of Man.
In Marybone, within a few yards of the present church of Holy Cross, a water fountain marks the place on which stood for centuries St. Patrick's Cross, as marked on old maps of the town, and which was in existence as late as 1775. In an Act of Parliament passed in 1771, to secure the repair of the road between Preston and Liverpool, the cross is specially named, because the street now called Marybone was then 'the road to Ormskirk'.
The neighbourhood possessed other traditions of Ireland's patron saint, the street between Cheapside and Hatton Garden bearing the name of St. Patrick's Hill."
I might be wrong but I think a connection of the Irish Vikings to St. Patrick's Cross does not seem too likely. The cross is probably of a later date. I'll do some digging and come back with some information on the cross hopefully.
Hmm... the Viking settlement of the Northwest was in the tenth century, St Patrick died in the first half of the fifth century so I imagine a cult would be well established.
The Vikings settling in the NW would have probably been christianised, probably with Celtic Christianity which but a lot of store in Saints and holy men, so there could be a connection.
On another note: here is a strange cross.
This is built into the wall at the end of St Michael's Road in the Hamlet. I'd like to know more about it.
Blue, scroll down to see the memorial that currently stands at where St. Patrick was supposed to have preached before leaving for Ireland.
(sorry link won't work)
Go to www.scottiepress.org
then click archive, then click Holy Cross parish.
Updated weekly with old and new pics.
I have no reason to think that the cross in St. Michaels in the Hamlet is genuinely old. It seems of a piece with the Victorian Gothic in which the community was built, or perhaps with the supposed "castle" in Cain's Fields that Robert Griffiths' History of the Royal and Ancient Park of Toxteth that was actually a Victorian folly and described as such by Griffiths.
Indeed, I suspect its a nice bit of Victorian 'Keltic' revivalism. I'm just wondering if it was added as a nod to the monastic names that John Cragg gave to his houses: The Friary, The Cloisters, The Priory etc...