Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross located on Slate Pit Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Littleborough Lakeside, Rochdale

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Latitude: 53.6591 / 53°39'32"N

Longitude: -2.0233 / 2°1'24"W

OS Eastings: 398553.626

OS Northings: 418065.123822

OS Grid: SD985180

Mapcode National: GBR GV94.R1

Mapcode Global: WHB8S.W9P7

Entry Name: Wayside cross located on Slate Pit Hill

Scheduled Date: 11 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011755

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23384

County: Rochdale

Electoral Ward/Division: Littleborough Lakeside

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Ripponden St Bartholomew

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument is the remains of the medieval wayside cross located on Slate Pit
Hill on Blackstone Edge. It includes the socket stone or socle of the cross
which comprises a roughly dressed gritstone block, measuring approximately
90cm maximum by 60cm minimum by 50cm high, with a rectangular socket hole
measuring 30cm by 15cm by 15cm deep. Originally there would also have been a
shaft and cross head but these components are now missing, possibly due to
16th or 17th century iconoclasm. The cross is located on a ridge of high
ground overlooking Dhoul's Pavement which is an ancient packhorse route
utilising the former Roman road over Blackstone Edge. Surrounding the wayside
cross, but lying outside the protected area, are a number of disused
extraction pits relating to post-medieval quarrying.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.

Although missing its shaft and head, the cross on Slate Pit Hill is a good
example of an in situ wayside cross associated with an ancient right of way
across Blackstone Edge.

Source: Historic England


Hill, Angela Shackleton, (1994)
PRN 4327,

Source: Historic England

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