The Maiden's Cross, wayside cross 520m SSW of Four Lane Ends
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Oct-2019 at 08:14:14.
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 51436 73569
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
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.
The Maiden's Cross cross base has lost a shaft and has been tipped over on its side. The base survives in good condition and it is in its original location as both a wayside cross and a marker for the old boundary between Alvanley and Manley. Such a survival in Cheshire is rare.
The monument includes a cross base known as the Maiden's Cross on the east
side of the road from Simmonds Hill to Four Lane Ends and on the parish
boundary separating Alvanley and Manley.
The base is a large block of local sandstone with coarse pebble inclusions and
has a square slot carved in the side facing west. This side used to be the top
and so the slot forms the socket hole for a cross shaft.
The block is buried to halfway across the socle and the measurements of the
sides visible are 0.85m wide by 0.48m deep and 0.45m high. The socket measures
0.35m by 0.37m and is 0.34m deep. The original top of the block has chamfered
edges 0.17m wide. The whole is worn but complete.
The cross stands in its original location beside the road and on the parish
boundary. The surface of the road is 1.3m to the west and is excluded from
the scheduling although the ground beneath is included.
The cross is Listed Grade II.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Cheshire Sites and Monuments Record, (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