Cross Base in Bank
Standish Wood Lane, Standish
Part of Group: No
At Risk: No
Historic England Ref: 141 (Link)
Cross base in bank. Probably medieval
Anyone who has walked up Standish Wood Lane to Prospect and on to Beech Walk will have noticed a stone block set into a hedge bank on the right-hand side.
The fact that a field drain discharges water onto the path at the side of it has led people to believe it was a water trough in earlier times but in fact it is the stone base of a medieval wayside cross. It has a socket hole cut into it in which the shaft of the cross would have sat and a tier of steps leading up to it but neither of these have survived.
The Cross was on the medieval route from Wigan to Standish then onto Chorley. From Wigan town centre the path came up Gidlow Lane and along the route where Willow Road is now and then up Standish Wood Lane to Standish and beyond.
There is an Ordnance Survey benchmark cut into the top surface of the block on the south side. This is in the form of an arrow and OS maps show the spot height as 307.9 feet above sea level.
Wayside crosses are a type of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th Centuries AD. As well as reinforcing the Christian Faith they acted as waymarkers pointing travellers to the next settlement on regular routes or providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes over difficult terrain frequented on pilgrimages.
Over 350 fully surviving wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in SW England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors.
There are two other stone cross bases further along the route to Standish. The next one is at Three Lane Ends were Standish Wood Lane meets Beech Walk and Green Lane adjacent to Standish Cricket Club. The base is at low level and covered with foliage so is hard to spot.
The third one is just 150 yards away in Green Lane opposite Westmead but has been moved from it's original location at the junction of Green Lane and School Lane when the area was developed for housing.
Historic England has scheduled all three stone bases as medieval monuments and are grade two listed. Wigan Metro Borough has 12 scheduled ancient monuments of which the cross bases in Standish are but three.
Thanks to Graham Taylor