Foldys Cross, Towneley, Burnley, Lancashire

Cross:  OS Grid Reference – SD 8523 3066

Also Known as:

  1. Foldy’s Cross

Getting Here

To get to Towneley Park head to the south side of the town close to a junction of two roads heading towards Todmorden and Bacup, from here the park and hall are signposted. The old cross stands 300 metres south-west of Townley Hall in the centre of some pathways leading in the direction of Todmorden road (the A671).

Archaeology & History

Foldys Cross, Burnley (Taylor, 1906)

Foldy’s Cross is a tall slender monument on a carved circular pedestal which sits upon a set of seven square-shaped steps. It dates from 1520 when it stood at the south side of St Peter’s parish church, Burnley. It was set up to commemorate a chaplain of St Peter’s church by the name of John Foldy or Foldys, and was then the town’s market cross or St Peter’s churchyard cross. In 1780 it was badly damaged by a Puritan mob, but the Towneley family rescued it and had it brought to their estate where it was repaired in a haphazard way and placed at the north-eastern side of the hall on the Avenue. In 1911 Burnley Borough Council had the cross completely restored for its Jubilee Year celebrations with various sandstone pieces added to replace sections of the cross including the plinth and set of seven steps – which are thought to be an exact copy of the original ones. The cross was then placed in its current position 300 metres to the south-east of Towneley Hall at an intersection of footpaths leading towards Todmorden road.

The original design of Foldy’s Cross was of the Gothic style which can be seen in the cross-head. It is made of sandstone and has an octagonal shaft with a moulded plinth with sunken panels. These panels contain lettering in the Gothic script. The cross-head is very nice with its decorated four arms, one of which is sunk into the shaft to support the head itself; this appears to be the original moulded head or cap with nicely carved emblems and fleurons on the collar – all typically Gothic in style. In the middle of the cross-head is a rather crude crucifix scene and on the other side the letters “IHS”. On the plinth the inscription reads in Latin:

‘Orate pro anima Johannes Foldys, capellani qui istam crucem fieri fecit Anno Domini MCCCCCXX’

— which when translated reads as, “Pray for the soul of John Foldys, chaplain who caused this cross to be made in the year of Our Lord 1520”.

The cross is now grade II listed and the English Heritage Building identity number is 467232.


  1. Peace, Richard, The Curiosities of England – Lancashire Curiosities, The Dovecot Press Ltd 1997.
  2. Taylor, Henry, The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, Sherratt & Hughes: Manchester 1906.

© Ray Spencer, 2011

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