Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Hightown Cross on Alt Road, 60m south east of Hightown Station

A Scheduled Monument in Hightown, Sefton

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Latitude: 53.5248 / 53°31'29"N

Longitude: -3.0563 / 3°3'22"W

OS Eastings: 330071.917485

OS Northings: 403649.788133

OS Grid: SD300036

Mapcode National: GBR 7W3P.35

Mapcode Global: WH86M.0NXN

Entry Name: Hightown Cross on Alt Road, 60m south east of Hightown Station

Scheduled Date: 12 June 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015909

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27616

County: Sefton

Civil Parish: Hightown

Built-Up Area: Hightown

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: Hightown St Stephen

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool


The monument includes a wayside cross on Alt Road in Hightown. The cross was
placed on an old route from the estuary of the River Alt to Sefton where there
was a burial ground for the district.
The cross is now set into the garden wall of Cross House and the medieval
plinth has been incorporated into the brickwork. The sandstone base block has
been replaced and a modern cross shaft and head has been erected on it. The
base plinth has two steps measuring 1.3m and 1m respectively. These have been
trimmed off in front of the road and the rest buried back in the wall. The
modern work dates to c.1880.
The brick wall and the surface of the pavement are not included in the
scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

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

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.

The wayside cross at Hightown is one of an important series of crosses
surrounding the old parish church at Sefton and lying on the routes taken by
funeral processions to that burial ground from surrounding villages. The
plinth of the cross survives well under the brickwork of a modern garden wall.
The wall and the surface of the pavement are not included in the scheduling
but the ground beneath is included.

Source: Historic England



Source: Historic England

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