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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 9:09 am 
Spider Lady
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 9:23 pm
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Location: Staffordshire
Burnley Express

Saturday 30 October 1880

The Old Cross, Godley Lane

This very ancient historic relic, which is supposed to have stood in its late position, near Godley Lane, for upwards of twelve hundred years, was removed on Monday, the 18th October, 1880. Standing there, "amidst the lapse of ages," a single and solitary monument, it has excited a considerable amount of antiquarian curiosity and speculation. The history of this old weather-beaten stone must be interesting to all, and especially to those who care for the local traditions of their town. Mr. T. T. Wilkinson, in his "History of the Parochial Church of Burnley," has the following:- "The cross in Godley Lane, originally bound by simple fillets, and terminating at the apex in a spiral form, although it has suffered severely from depredators and the hand of Time, still retains its original position. The upright stem is almost entire, but the arms of the cross have long since disappeared. Enough, however, yet remains of its general form to indicate its Saxon workmanship, and to enable it to 'challenge' an equal antiquity with those still remaining at Whalley and Dewsbury. That erected at the latter place contained the inscription, 'Paulinus hic prodicavit et celebravit, A.D> 627,' and the similarity of this with those erected at Whalley and Burnley leave little room for doubt that they all attest the presence of this great 'Apostle of the North of England' when engaged in diffusing the blessings of christianity amongst the Pagan inhabitants of these mountainous tracts. A more popular tradition is, that religious rites were celebrated upon the spot where the cross stood, but when an attempt was made to build a church upon the place, the materials were nightly transplanted by invisible agents to the present site of St. Peter's Church. History no doubt about the sixth century was somewhat dark and confused, and facts and fiction were so ingeniously interwoven as to make it a rather mythical period, as exampled by the controversy as to whether the famous King Arthur was a real or only a mythical personage. About Paulinus there can be no such uncertainty, as he is not only spoken of in history, but the cross at Dewsbury was erected in commemoration of his presence and preaching at that place. By the fervour of this remarkable man preaching, Edwin, the Saxon King, his court and a large number of the people were converted, and Paulinus was soon afterwards appointed the first Archbishop of York. He is described of
Shoulders curved and stature tall,
Black hair and vivid eye, and meagre cheek,
His prominent feature like an eagle's beak;
A man whose aspect doth at once appal
And strike with reverance;-
In removing this cross great car was taken, and a diligent but inavailing search made for some record of its origin. The sceptical may therefore still be dissatisfied at the incompleteness of the evidence, because whatever similarity there may be between the cross at Burnley and that at Dewsbury, the inscription that clearly defines the one is wanting in the other. I should be sorry to cast any suspicion on either the age or origin of our Burnley relic, but still I musy say its compeer at Dewsbury possesses a certificate which gives if a precedence. One thing however is certain, that no stone could look more venerable, or show greater evidence of having suffered from the hand of 'eternal time, that wasteth without waste.'"
The Exors. of Col. Hargreaves have now placed this monument in the plantation near the Russian guns; the site is most suitable, as the stone stands in a pretty and prominent position. Numbers will now see this historical relic who never saw it before, and it will stand there with its age of twelve hundred years as a connecting link from the past to the future, giving abundant scope for thought to all beholders, a veritable sermon in stone to
New names unknown, old names gone,
Till time ends bodies, souls none.
When the cross was removed, I was struck with the very rude way in which it was let into the basestone, the work being in such marked contrast to the superstructure as to almost lead to the conclusion that this stone was not its original base, or that the same skilled hands had worked it; moreover the portion of the pillar let into the base seemed so much weathered as to give the appearance of having been exposed for some considerable time. These cursory remarks are not intended to convey much instruction, but perhaps they may awaken a more general interest in our local traditions, and induce competent authorities to give us the beenfit of their antiquarian lore.
W. H. Colbran

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