Ancient Monuments

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Affetside Cross at Affetside 75m north west of the Pack Horse Inn

A Scheduled Monument in Tottington, Bury

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Latitude: 53.6191 / 53°37'8"N

Longitude: -2.3724 / 2°22'20"W

OS Eastings: 375465.553309

OS Northings: 413685.516133

OS Grid: SD754136

Mapcode National: GBR CVWL.5C

Mapcode Global: WH97P.J9JB

Entry Name: Affetside Cross at Affetside 75m north west of the Pack Horse Inn

Scheduled Date: 2 October 1950

Last Amended: 25 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014120

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25721

County: Bury

Electoral Ward/Division: Tottington

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Greater Manchester

Church of England Parish: Holcombe and Hawkshaw

Church of England Diocese: Manchester


The monument includes a post-medieval cross on three steps at Affetside on the
west side of Watling Street. The cross has been recently incorporated into a
small paved area surrounded by decorative stonework which has been built to
protect the cross and provide a refuge from the traffic. The cross stands
directly beside the road edge.
The cross shaft is cut from a single piece of local gritstone and is set in a
socle of two stones on two steps. The first step is circular and measures
2.28m in diameter and 0.1m high. The second step is 1.6m in diameter and 0.24m
high. The socle is 1m in diameter and 0.25m high. The shaft is of pillar form
with a square base 0.34m wide tapering to a column 1.43m high. At 1.34m there
is a collar surmounted by a bun shaped capital. Cut into the top is a socket
which once held a cross head or stone ball.
The cross stands on the former Roman road from Manchester to Ribchester now
called Watling Street. It replaces a medieval waymarker at this point on the
road. The present shaft is post-medieval and represents a market cross for the
village and surrounding hamlets.
The surface of the road and the stone paving surrounding the cross are
excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features is

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 1 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone,
mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD).
Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as
stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm
Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for
preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of
sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between
parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate
battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and
protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market
places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some
crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for
example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the
scenes of games or recreational activity.
Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have
numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation
has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and
religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by
iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval
standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The
oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft
often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the
stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a
flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th
centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may
take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more
elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped
crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding
stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the
most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the
stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also
uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the
13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and
cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base,
buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and
head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our
understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our
knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which
survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their
original location, are considered worthy of protection.

The cross at Affetside is directly on the west side of the Roman road from
Manchester to Ribchester which became a medieval route known as Watling
Street. The present structure is a replacement of an earlier medieval cross
and survives in its original location. It is on a commanding point of the high
road and serves to remind us of medieval travellers and the importance of
religion in medieval life.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Some Old Bolton Suburbs, (1985), 3
Billington, W D , From Affetside to Yarrow, Bolton Place-names, (1982), 1
Greater Manchester Sites and Monuments Record, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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