many thanks for all those who responded to my enquiry about wayside crosses.
It appears that I was mistaken, and that they were quite widely distributed in
Britain. The areas with the most surviving examples appears to be some early
ones from Cornwall, several from the North Yorks Moors and also more generally
It is interesting that the best areas of survival appear to be upland areas;
did they survive because of an opposition to Puritan iconoclasm, becuase they
also functioned as way markers in featureless landscapes or simply because
they were too remote to get a half-decent posse up to go and knock them down?
In general several people have suggested to me that they are more likely to be
destroyed by 17th century Puritanism rather than the first flush of the
Although lots of people have let me know of examples they know off there does
seem to be a surprising lack of work on them. I was looking at Eamon Duffy's
'Stripping of the Altars; Traditional Religion in Britain in England
1400-1580', but beyond mentioning the general role of the church and lay
people putting money towards roads there is virtually no mention of the role
of these crosses
One thing that ocurred to be is that there was a recent conference on the
Arhaeology of the Reformatin at the British Museum ( a joint conference
between the Soc of Med Arch and the Soc of Med Arch) - does anybody know if
any papers were given on iconoclasm/destruction of religion were given?
Oxford Archaeological Unit
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