Annot Cross, Brierfield, Lancashire

Cross (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – c. SD 881 353

Archaeology & History

Not included in the magnum opus of Henry Taylor (1906), the exact position of this long lost site remains unknown, as even the investigative abilities of Clifford Byrne couldn’t track it down!  It was erected in a region full of pre-christian remains and (at the time) living remnants of heathen folklore and practices between Worsthorne and Nelson.  Mr Byrne (1974) described his search for the place, saying:

“This cross is of ancient origin and no part of it now remains as far as can be ascertained by investigation, although the memory of it certainly remains, for an elderly gentleman living in the cottages of Holt Hill, Briercliffe, said instantly on being asked about he cross that he had often heard it referred to by older people when he was a boy, although he could not say exactly where in the hamlet the monolith had stood.  We are told that the cross is mentioned in a document in the year 1313 when Robert Briercliffe granted away the Sene intacks in the Holt Hill as it lay by Annot Cross on the south side.  This implies that it stood on the south side of the road (between) Thursden and Haggate, which is an old road from Burnley to Halifax…”

This would give a rough grid reference for its position around SD 881 353, but nothing appears to be there.  However, Byrne told of another intriguing bitta folklore a short distance away which may have had some relevance to the positioning of the cross.

“Down the road to Lane Bottoms, behind some bungalows, is a stone shaft in a depression in a meadow which we are told is an ancient standing stone.  Whether this is so is not easy to ascertain for the stone has apparently been used as a gatepost at some time, and further gives indication of having been utilised as a cattle rubbing post.”

Below here we find the old place-name ‘Burwains,’ which clearly indicate a site of a prehistoric burial, though nothing remains of such a place — officially at least.  Perhaps a couple of ventures in and around this area need to be done!  One final note that Byrne made related to the title of this lost cross, saying:

“The name “Annot” may be of Saxon origin, for the Saxon word annet means solitude, and this would have certainly fitted the area in ages past.”


  1. Byrne, Clifford, A Survey of the Ancient Wayside Crosses in North-East Lancashire, unpublished report 1974.
  2. Taylor, Henry, The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, Sherratt & Hughes: Manchester 1906.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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