Tom Cross, Colne, Lancashire

Cross:  OS Grid Reference – SD 92102 43175

Also Known as:

  1. Copy House Cross

Getting Here

Tom Cross on 1892 map
Tom Cross on 1892 map

Follow the same directions as if you’re visiting the Dissenter’s Well.  The cross stands right next to it!

Archaeology & History

This is one of two old stone crosses with the same name within a mile of each other (the other could be found in the walling along Warley Wise Lane).  Included in Taylor’s (1906) stunning magnum opus on the wells and crosses of Lancashire, the site was mentioned in a boundary dispute in the year 1592.  He told how a local man called Mr Carr said,

“John Parkinson, ‘of the age of ffour score and thirtiene year or thereabouts’ stated that Tom Cross and the Graystone were by credible report the boundaries, as well of Lancashire and Yorkshire, as of the manors of Colne and Cowling.”

Years later when Clifford Byrne (1974) surveyed the crosses of East Lancashire, he gave us more details about the site, saying:

“Tom Cross is built into the wall hard by Copy House Farm… At the foot of the Copy House Cross is a well, carved out of a solid block of stone.  The water apparently trickles into the well from a spring at the back of the wall , and the overflow spills into the field.  The top section of the cross is missing, probably it was vandalized at the time of the Reformation or some time afterwards.  It appears that the well was used and probably laid down by the Congregational Church dissenters from the late 17th century.  At that time, a law was passed, soon to be repealed, which decreed that every man should attend his Parish Church.  This meant that those who wished freedom to practise religion in their own form had to firstly attend the Parish Church and then hold a meeting privately afterwards.  At that time, and under those circumstances, it was obviously sensible to meet far away from the Parish Church, and apparently Tom Cross was chosen to meet this need.  The children of the Dissenters would be privately baptised in this well at the foot of the monolith into which, a cross was deeply incised.

Tom Cross is mentioned in a lawsuit in the year 1592 and a map exists dated slightly earlier which shows another cross in the area on Greystone Moor near Blacko…”

Tom Cross stone
Tom Cross stone

Byrne suggested that the name ‘Tom Cross’ relates to a boundary cross, but this is not substantiated in local dialect or place-name surveys (who say nothing!).  Instead, Joseph Wright (1905) gives us the possibility of Tom being simply, “a kind of rock”; although a variety of other associations relate it children’s games, customs and goblins. The word may derive from the Gaelic ‘tom’, relating to a mound, or clump, or knoll in the landscape (Watson 1926).  I’d go for one of these misself.  Makes sense.

References:

  1. Byrne, Clifford H., “A Survey of the Ancient Wayside Crosses in North East Lancashire,” unpublished manuscript, 1974.
  2. Taylor, Henry, The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, Sherratt & Hughes: Manchester 1906.
  3. Watson, W.J., The Celtic Placenames of Scotland, Edinburgh 1926.
  4. Wright, Joseph (ed.), English Dialect Dictionary – volume 6, Henry Frowde: Oxford 1905.

Acknowledegments:  Big thanks to Chris Swales for guiding me to the site; and to the old Teddy Man, Danny Tiernan.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Tom Cross

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Tom Cross 53.884722, -2.121638 Tom Cross

Jerusalem Farm Stone, Laneshaw Bridge, Lancashire

Standing Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SD 92076 42714  —  NEW FIND

Getting Here

Jerusalem Farm standing stone
Jerusalem Farm standing stone

From Colne or Laneshaw Bridge, head up the Skipton Old Road which heads up towards Bleara Moor (with its prehistoric cairns).  Way before that though, about 100 yards before you reach the Black Lane Ends pub, turn left up the track to Jerusalem Farm.  Go past it, through the gates and keep on the track until, another coupla hundred further uphill, you’ll see it on the skyline ahead of you…

Archaeology & History

There appears to be no previous reference to this standing stone, found high upon the lonely ridge beside the old track that runs between Laneshaw Bridge and Kelbrooke and Earby.  Well eroded on all sides, it isn’t shown on the early or recent maps and has evaded the archaeological registers of the area (but this is Lancashire, where archaeology has been damn lazy on the county’s prehistoric relics until very recently).  It may have been laid down for an age, only recently resurrected—we simply do not know.  Standing nearly five-feet tall, on its top western face is what looks like a very faded cup-marking, but this may be a fortuitous Rorscharch. There are no marks or holes in the stone to indicate it has ever been used as a gatepost.

Looking far far east
Looking far into the east
Looking northwest
Looking northwest

I was guided here by the northern antiquarian and stonemason Chris Swales a few weeks ago and was quite taken aback by its position in the landscape—which is outstanding!  Apart from being blocked to the west by the rise of the Great Edge, the views to the north through east and south and superb.  On the far eastern skyline rises the legendary Hitching Stone, between which is the seemingly cairn-less Knarrs Hill.

Further north along the track we reach the old Dissenter’s Well and its moving companion, the Tom Cross (which has marked different parts of the Lancashire and Yorkshire boundary). Other than this, we know nothing more. An intriguing spot and well worth visiting!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Jerusalem Farm stone

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Jerusalem Farm stone 53.880568, -2.122015 Jerusalem Farm stone

Swinden Cross, Colne, Lancashire

Cross:  OS Grid Reference – SD 878 409

Archaeology & History

Carved cross design

In the 19th century a fragment of an Anglo-Saxon cross was dug up in the grounds of Alkincoats Hall between Colne and Foulridge — this area was probably once an early Medieval settlement that was taken over by Knights Hospitallers in the 12th and 13th centuries.  However, the carved cross-head was lost for a long period of time but was thought to have come to light again in more recent times when the sewerage works were being built at Swinden on the boundary between Colne and Nelson. If the cross had stood at Swinden then it almost certainly marked the boundaries between Colne and Marsden (Merclesden).

This fragment was thought to be almost certainly the same as that found at Alkincoats Hall.  The piece of cross-head would have adorned the top of a late Saxon or early Medieval cross-shaft dating from the 10th-11th century. The carvings of knotwork interlacing on the arms and central boss were thought reminiscent of Anglo-Norse work — similar to the crosses at Whalley and Burnley.

I believe that the cross fragment was housed in St Bartholomew’s parish church at Colne, but I don’t know whether it still resides there. What a shame that the shaft has long gone – because almost certainly it would have looked resplendent.

References:

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

© Ray Spencer, 2011

Swinden Cross

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Swinden Cross 53.864563, -2.186300 Swinden Cross

Maiden or Tailor’s Cross, Foulridge, Lancashire

Cross:  OS Grid Reference – SD 890 423

Getting Here

Not hard to locate.  From Colne head up to Foulridge via the skipton Road and as you get to the middle of the town ask find the cenotaph just off the main road.

Archaeology & History

The Maiden or Tailor's Cross, Foulridge
The Maiden or Tailor’s Cross, Foulridge

The Maiden or Tailor’s Cross has at least two old traditions attached to the site, which local historians think originate from the Civil War period.  The first tells of a Royalist tailor who – sensibly – refused to make uniforms for Oliver Cromwell’s traitorous soldiers; but as a result, the poor tailor was shot by the troops and the remains of his body were placed over the old stone cross as a warning to his fellow workers.  If you look closely on the cross you can see a crude carving of what looks like a pair of scissors or shears, and it is this carved symbol which has seemingly given birth to the legend of the tailor.  There may, of course, be some truth in the story; but the carved shears is more likely an old Masonic carving – though quite who did it and when isn’t known.

The other legend is the one which apparently gave birth to the title of the Maiden’s Cross.  It tells of a certain Margaret Burnard whose husband went into battle (on the side of the treacherous Cromwell), but who agreed before he set out that she should wait for him for to return by the side of the old cross; and this she did each and every day, waiting for her husband, Robert, to come back from the Civil War.  But he was one of the many who died in the Battle of Marston Moor.  However, Margaret refused to accept his death and returned to the cross each evening to their agreed meeting place.  The story goes that Margaret herself herself was eventually killed by Royalist soldiers – and her body was buried at the cross where she had so often waited in vain.

It seems likely that this old cross originally replaced an old ‘heathen’ site in Foulridge.  Several such spots were known here, though virtually nothing now remains.  But notices of these sites will appear on TNA in the near future.

References:

  1. Oldland, F., The Story of Foulridge, PHCL: Pendle 1990.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Maiden Cross

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Maiden Cross 53.877260, -2.168095 Maiden Cross

Lister Well, White Moor, Barnoldswick

Healing Well:  OS Grid Reference – SD 8695 4412

Getting Here

Lister Well on 1853 map
Lister Well on 1853 map

You’re a bit spoilt for choice in terms of how your reach this spot, high upon White Moor – which is south of Barnoldswick, west of Salterforth, northwest of Foulridge, north of Barrowford, or northeast of Blacko.  Whichever route you end up taking, you’re going uphill onto the heights near Weets Hill – and find the old trackway which bisects White Moor and has the rather tell-tale name of Lister Well Road!  It’s roughly halfway along the route, right by the trackside.

Archaeology & History

Lister Well, White Moor
Lister Well, White Moor

History and folklore here have long been silent (though I aint checked the Annals of Barrowford, which may prove useful).  A local land-owner told us that the original trough had been uprooted a few decades back when the gas- or electricity-board (he can’t remember which) did some work hereabouts and uprooted the stone trough into which the waters ran and, for sometime, caused the complete destruction of the supply.  But its waters eventually re-emerged from the Earth, trickling into the grassy drainage line on the southern-edge of the track before going under the wall and down the moorland slope.

If you like a good walkabout with good views to behold, get y’self up here and have an amble.  Tis a damn fine place, with a lot of forgotten history embedded in the landscape.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Lister Well

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Lister Well 53.893092, -2.199986 Lister Well

Standing Stone, Foulridge, Lancashire

Standing Stone:  OS grid reference – SD 8803 4316

Also Known as:

  1. Lark Hill Stone
Possible Standing Stone in walling close to Standing Stone Road crossroads
‘Standing Stone Road’ monolith

Getting Here

From Foulridge go west up the long windy road (B6251) till you hit the old crossroads near the top.  Turn right and go on till you hit the modernised farmhouse on your right, where you’ll notice a modern upright stone in the entrance.  You need to go back about 70 yards and you’ll see this old stone in the wall.

Archaeology & History

"Standing Stone Road' stone!
“Standing Stone Road’ stone!

Less than a mile northwest of Foulridge along the southern stretch of the Whitemoor Reservoir, on the northern outskirts of Colne, we find the intriguingly-named ‘Standing Stone Lane’ — which seems to indicate that at some time in the not-too-distant past, an old monolith could be found hereabouts.  The old maps show the boundary line turning at right angles just near the crossroads, which is where I thought we might locate some remains of an old standing stone.  But it wasn’t to be.  Instead, we need to travel about 100 yards west along the single-track road, just below the reservoir — and there, in the walling, plain for all to see, is what may be the old standing stone which gave the road its name.  I found this site in early July 2008, and although we can’t be 100% certain, it’s not too bad a good contender as the monolith which first gave the road its name.  Does anyone know anymore about it?

More probably though (and this is what ‘feels’ right): the original stone which gave the road its name was much bigger than this little thing, but was probably destroyed when the reservoir here was constructed.  How much d’ y’ wanna bet!?

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Foulridge stone

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Foulridge stone 53.884477, -2.183643 Foulridge stone