Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Broom's Cross wayside cross, 150m north east of Orchard House

A Scheduled Monument in Thornton, Sefton

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Latitude: 53.5052 / 53°30'18"N

Longitude: -2.9977 / 2°59'51"W

OS Eastings: 333925.622544

OS Northings: 401406.923512

OS Grid: SD339014

Mapcode National: GBR 7WHX.T6

Mapcode Global: WH86T.X5Q5

Entry Name: Broom's Cross wayside cross, 150m north east of Orchard House

Scheduled Date: 12 June 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015910

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27617

County: Sefton

Civil Parish: Thornton

Built-Up Area: Crosby

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Merseyside

Church of England Parish: Sefton St Helen

Church of England Diocese: Liverpool


The monument includes a wayside cross on Holgate in Thornton. It stands on the
west side of the track about 50m west of the junction of Holgate and Back
Lane. The cross and base are Listed Grade II.
The cross, which is medieval, survives as a sandstone base block which
0.7m by 0.65m and stands 0.15m above the turf in which it is embedded. The
socket is 0.25m square and has a modern polished granite cross inserted with a
plaque on the west face to name the cross and give a probable date for the
original at around AD 1300.
The cross stands at the side of an old lane leading to Lydiate and is one of a
series of wayside crosses which survive in this district and appear to
surround the parish church at Sefton. This was an area of Catholic recusancy
after the Reformation and this has probably led to the survival of so many
crosses in the parishes of south Lancashire.
The concrete footings and the park bench adjacent to the cross are not
included in the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

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

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 150m north east of Orchard House survives well at or near to
its original location beside an old road to Lydiate from Ince Blundell. There
is another cross on this road to the north in the grounds of Ince Blundell
Hall (the subject of a separate scheduling). The survival of these crosses can
be attributed to the survival of the Catholic religion in the area after the

Source: Historic England

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