Walton-on-the-Hill Churchyard Cross

by Martin

The pedestal of this cross was dug up by the  gravedigger a few years ago and has been left above ground in the churchyard. It is of rough stone and much time-worn. The stone measures five feet square at the base, is two feet thick, and the socket for the missing cross is eighteen inches by fifteen inches and fourteen inches deep. The cross was, therefore, a large and probably lofty one. The majority of the shafts in Lancashire were much smaller than this. In pre-Normal crosses the calvary, or flight of three steps, were often worked, as in this case, one one stone, and this fact leads to the conclusion that the cross was of pre-Normal date. A notable example is to be seen in Halton Churchyard, near Lancaster. In the church is preserved a portion of the circular head of a cross with cable moulding, likewise dug up in the churchyard, which may have formed part of this early cross.

The church is of pre-Norman foundation and is named in Domesday. The sculptures on the font were clearly chiselled before the date of that survey. The parish was a large one and was indeed the mother church of the district. The site is opposite the mouth of the Mersey, about one and a half miles inland.

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