Angles, Danes and Norse in the District of Huddersfield (1929) - Chapter 8

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Angles, Danes and Norse in the District of Huddersfield (1929) by W.G. Collingwood (2nd edition)

  • Preface (page 3)
  • Chapter 1 : The Anglian Occupation of Yorkshire (page 7)
  • Chapter 2 : British Loidis and Elmet (page 9)
  • Chapter 3 : The Anglian and British Map of the Huddersfield District (page 13)
  • Chapter 4 : The Anglian Abbeys (page 17)
  • Chapter 5 : Anglian Monuments (page 19)
  • Chapter 6 : Dewsbury (page 24)
  • Chapter 7 : Thornhill (page 33)
  • Chapter 8 : Walton and Rastrick Cross-bases (page 37)
  • Chapter 9 : Kirkburton and Kirkheaton — the Danish Settlers (page 40)
  • Chapter 10 : High Hoyland and the Norse Settlers (page 46)
  • Chapter 11 : Domesday Book an the Norman Conquest (page 50)
  • Chapter 12 : Mirfield, Cawthrone, Penistone and Skelmanthorpe (page 55)
  • Summary (page 60)
  • Bibliography (page 61)

WALTON AND RASTRICK CROSS-BASES

The base of Walton cross stands within an iron railing in a stackyard at Walton Cross Farm, about one-third of a mile north-west of Hartshead church. Up to the latter part of the eighteenth century there was a shaft, it is said, standing in this base, so that there is no doubt the whole monument was a cross of the late Anglian type. It seems to have been known in the twelfth century as the Wagestan, and by the ornament is seems to date from after the middle of the tenth century. Why it was placed there, at a distance from any known burial-ground, is a question we cannot answer with certainty ; but on Stainmore, in a wild place on the border of Westmorland and Yorkshire, still further removed from any trace of a church, there is the Rere cross, apparently a monument of the same class and age, standing where the last battle of Eric Bloodaxe is supposed to have been fought. Possibly the Walton cross commemorates some warrior who fell in a forgotten fight.

The base is a great piece of grit-stone; its dimensions are 58x41x30 inches, and it stands on a slab measuring 50x50x8 inches. The nearest parallel to this great base is one at Hornby in Lonsdale, which is ornamented only with Anglian arches and mouldings, evidently of late design; and indeed it is natural to expect size, in a late period of any style, as a makeweight for want of elegance. Technical ability increased as artistic taste declined; and the wish to impress by magnitude could be realised with improved methods of masonry.

The ornament is all in the latest stage of the Anglian tradition, before it was touched with Danish taste. The birds and beasts which in early Anglian were graceful and often naturalistic, here become conventional and clumsy. The plaits are elaborate, and give an impression of richness; but they are repetitions of easy patterns, and contain the rings and closed members which mark the 10th or 11th century. The design of the tree scroll and branches under the two griffins is debased, but still on the Anglian model, as the branch-bindings show; it could not be a post-Conquest work. The two holes on the west side look as though somebody had used it as a gate post, running a wall up to its eastern side and leaving a gap for the road on the other. Perhaps, underneath, there may by the remains of an interment which might tell us something about its history.

The Rastrick cross-base stands on the north side of the churchyard, near the entrance gate. It looks like a smaller and much later attempt at the same kind of monument. It bears the tree-pattern, but with large trefoil leaves, never seen in earlier Anglian design, though found on the Cawthorne font; and yet this has the pre-Norman branch-bindings showing that if it is as late as the 12th century it is not really Norman. There is more use of loops and rings in the plait; the design is very debased; and yet it carries on the Anglian tradition, without a touch of Danish. As no church here is mentioned in Domesday Book, both church and cross may be a little later than 1086.