St Cuthbert’s Cross

A modern wayside cross fixed into an ancient base in a hedge bordering Lytham cricket field on Church Road commemorates the Saint of Lindisfarne whose body, in its wooden sarcophagus, was carried by monks in their flight from the Danes in the 9th century. The inscribed cross says: According to ancient tradition, the body of St. Cuthbert about the year 882 A.D. once rested here.  The cross was restored in 1912 by Lytham’s blind Vicar, Canon Henry Beauchamp Hawkins. A church dedicated to St. Cuthbert has stood near this spot since the 12th century. St. Cuthbert’s body was carried over the Ribble estuary to Churchtown, near Southport, progressed to Chester-le-Street and finally came to rest at Durham, where the Cathedral now covers his shrine. Years later the tomb was opened and we are told, “whiles they opened his coffin they start at a wonder, they look for bones and flesh, they expected a skeleton and saw an entire body with joints flexible, his flesh so succulent that there wanted only heat…nay, his very funeral weeds were so fresh as if putrefaction had not dared to take him by the coat”.

This is an extract from Lancashire Legends by Kathleen Eyre published by The Dalesman Publishing Company Ltd 1972.

 

 

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