The Headless Cross on Tarporley Road 230m north west of Greenlands


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of The Headless Cross on Tarporley Road 230m north west of Greenlands
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1013476 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 22-Oct-2019 at 11:57:35.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cheshire West and Chester (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 58256 67793

Reasons for Designation

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 earth- fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

Although only the base of this cross survives and this has been mounted on a modern plinth, it remains in its original position next to a medieval road. This road led to the nearby Vale Royal Abbey and has three other wayside crosses along the route. Very few such crosses survive in Cheshire.


The monument includes a red sandstone cross base set on a modern concrete plinth in the line of the hedge on the west side of the Tarporley Road. The cross appears on maps from the 19th century and was called the Headless Cross. The cross base stands in its original position beside the medieval road to Vale Royal Abbey which later became part of a turnpike road. The stone block is 0.78m wide on the east face and 0.68m deep. It stands 0.35m high. The socket measures 0.33m by 0.32m and is 0.15m deep. It is set on a modern concrete base measuring 0.9m by 0.9m and stands 0.35m high. The base has been broken away on its north west corner. This was probably one of the seven crosses destroyed by Puritan iconoclasts in the early 17th century, an act which led to a case in the Star Chamber. There are the remains of four crosses on the road to the abbey. One is the Longstone 700m to the east, another the cross base on Longstone Lane 400m to the east and a cross base at Whitegates to the north east. The fence boundary is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Heaton, C, Plan of Delamere Forest, (1819)
Ormerod, , History of Cheshire, (1882), 107
Cheshire County Council SMR, (1994)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].