The Pilgrims Cross

The Pilgrims Cross, Holcombe Moor
The Pilgrims Cross, Holcombe Moor

The monument above and the inscription are modern, but the original Pilgrims Cross was here in 1176 and possibly long before.   The inscriptions read:

“On this site stood the ancient Pilgrims Cross. It was standing in A.D. 1176 and probably much earlier. Pilgrims to Whalley Abbey prayed and rested here.”

” In A.D. 1176 and in A.D. 1225 the Pilgrims Cross is named in charters of gifts of land in Holcombe forest. In A.D. 1662 King Charles II gave this manor to General Monk, Duke of Abermarle through whom it has descended to the present lord of the manor.”

“Nothing is known of the removal of the ancient cross, but its massive socketed foundation remained here until August 1901″

“This memorial stone was placed here May 24th 1902 by the copyholders of the manor and others”

The picture below is of the socketed foundation stone, photographed in 1896 by Mr H Foster at the request of Rev H Dowsett and published in Mr Dowsett’s 1901 book “Notes on Holcombe”.


Dowsett’s second book “Holcombe Long Ago” (1902) says that the foundation was destroyed by some unknown person in August 1901.  About 30 fragments were found close by, but these subsequently disappeared or were buried.  The manufacture and erection of the present monument less than a year later was led by Mr Dowsett.

It seems possible that the position of the cross simply marks the highest point of an obvious short cut between the old packhorse route from Edgworth to Holcombe round the end of the hill and the north-south route up the Irwell valley to Accrington and Whalley.

There is more information here.