Withgill Cross, Great Mitton, Lancashire

Cross:  OS Grid Reference – SD 7060 4062

Getting Here

Withgill cross location (after QDanT)

From Great Mitton village, go up (north) the slightly winding B6243 road for a mile, then take the left turn up the minor country lane, for about 300 yards, till you reach a tiny crossroad of tracks, one leading down to Scott House and the other up to Withgill Farm.  Stop here!  You’re damn close.  From what our man ‘QDanT’ says, this is now to be found behind the hedge by the roadside, on the side of the road where the track runs up to Withgill Farm, tucked low and overgrown close to the ground.  Good luck!

Archaeology & History

Described by Mr Ackerley (1947) as being found

“in the coppice beside the gate to Withgill is the base of another road-side cross,”

Cross-base (after QDanT)

all but overgrown by ivy and lost to the causal eye.  Thankfully our man Danny got on his bike and found the remains of the little fella, all-but invisible beneath the vegetative growth!  Beneath the vegetation, John Dixon told there to be “some interesting 17th century graffiti,” but there’s not much that remains of the old cross.


There is a curious story about a legendary church that was once supposed to have been up the track on the hill just above here at the farm.  The story goes,

“that when Mitton church was built, it ought to have been built on Withgill Knowle: that there was a church somewhere about there, and that the stones from it were carted down to Mitton in one night and used in building the present church.”

This bitta folklore is a motif found commonly at prehistoric sites, where stones from our ancient places were uprooted and moved (destroyed) to give way to the new christian mythos.  To my knowledge, no such prehistoric sites are known hereby.  Mr Dixon – over to you dear sir!


  1. Ackerley, Frederick George, A History of the Parish of Mitton in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Aberdeen University Press 1947.


  1. Pictorial Journey of East Lancashire Crosses
  2. Teddy’s Exploration of the Withgill Cross Base

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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4 thoughts on “Withgill Cross, Great Mitton, Lancashire”

  1. The majority of fabric stones for the building of Great Mytton Church were quarried from the knoll at Withgill.

    Some 30 years ago the late Ben Edwards conducted a small excavation on the knoll at Withgill and some evidence of a structure along with fragments of Samian ware and other retated pottery sherds were found, sadly no report was published – only Ben’s field notes remain. During the same season the nearby Toot Hill (“look-out hill”) was also investigated and again revealed sherds of Roman pottery and the slight remains of a structure, again, no report was published by Ben.

    During his time a Lancashire County Archaeologist Ben conducted many excavations – sadly nothing was published on the majority of these digs.

    The position of Lancashire County Archaeologist is now defunct being taked over by the Preston SMR.

  2. As I state in TNA FORUM, I will cut back the ‘brush’ around the cross base next week and then all may read the graffiti from a former age inscribed thereon.


  3. In comment 3 above i found you cann’t post a photo in comments , but its in the link as photo #8 — Danny

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