Wayside Cross

Wayside Cross is a cross erected on the public highway, either to commemorate some remarkable event, to indicate the boundary of an estate, to designate a customary station for a public service, or the temporary resting-place of the corpse on a royal or noble funeral; or to mark the confines of a diocesan, monastic, or parochial boundary. Anciently, in England, wayside crosses were abundant, and reminded the faithful of the duty of prayer. They were often of stone, standing on the steps; though, no doubt, wooden wayside crosses were frequently set up. Stone crosses partook of the distinct architectural features of the age and time in which they were erected. One removed from the site of the abbey is preserved in Langley Park, Norfolk. The Weeping Cross at Shrewsbury was a station on Corpus Christi Day, when the various guilds, religious and corporate bodies visited it; and there offered prayers for an abundant, harvest, returning to hear mass in St. Chad's. There was a weeping cross at Caen, erected by queen Matilda in memory of her sorrows at the cruel treatment of her husband, William of Normandy. Sometimes it commemorated a battle, as the Neville's Cross, near Durham, erected in 1346; or a death, like the memorial of Sir Ralph Percy, who was killed on Hedgeley Moor in 1464. There are remains of wayside crosses near Doncaster and at Braithwell. with inscriptions, inviting the prayers of the passing traveller. In Devonshire alone there are one hundred and thirty-five places called by the name of the cross. At Pencrann and St. Herbor, Brittany, there are superb specimens; and others, richly carved, at Nevern, Carew, and Newmarket. Valle Crucis Abbey took its name from Eliseg's sepulchral cross of the 7th century. In Spain, Italy, Lubbeck (near Louvain), Willebrock, and on Boonhill, Berwickshire, there are memorials of a violent death. In the life of St. Willebald the English laborers are said to have gathered round a cross in the middle of a field for daily prayer as an ordinary custom.

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