Doffcocker or Haliwell Cross is made from a single, huge slab of stone and stands in the church grounds of St James the Great, Bolton. This impressive monument is over seven feet tall and it’s well worth a visit to the Johnson Fold estate to see it.
It has not always been treated so favourably or given such a prominent position. For years it lay as a footbridge over Dean Brook, its substantial bulk easily able to support those walking over it ! It was rescued and re-erected in St Mary’s Church in Palace Street, Bolton. This Victorian catholic church was closed in 1987 ( but the building remains in place- it was converted to a Holiday Inn). From there, the cross had one final move to stand today in the pleasant landscaped grounds of St James the Great, in the parish of Deane.
A.J. Noble’s revised version of Taylor’s book The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, Salford Hundred, gives the precise measurements of the cross as follows: height 7 feet 2 inches tall (presumably with more of it buried underground), shaft 18 inches by 9 inches wide, and arms 22 inches across. Dating the monument is difficult, but by comparing it to others we have seen it looks like a medieval wayside cross. Its original position is a mystery, but considering its huge bulk it presumably had not travelled far to be reused as a footbridge.
Site visited by A. and R. Bowden 2015
Parking and Access
Park by the shops on Montserratt Road, or in one of the roads just off it. The cross is in the grounds of St James the Great, in the parish of Deane, Bolton. It can be accessed during daylight hours.
Nearby, just a drive away Smithills Hall
The Ancient Crosses and Holy Wells of Lancashire, Volume IV, Salford Hundred, Henry Taylor (1906);revised version A. J. Noble (2005), North West Catholic History Society
Details of St James the Great Church http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/LAN/Bolton/StJamestheGreat.shtml
Details of St Mary’s Church, Palace Street http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/LAN/Bolton/StMaryoftheAssumption.shtml