WORK has finally begun to save and restore a unique and unusual part of Winsford’s history.

Shrouded in myth, Over Cross Base and Lock-Up, on Delamere Street, was built towards the end of the 1700s using the finest quality yellow sandstone, as a plinth for the monumental ‘Saxon’ cross to sit.

Unusually, the base of the monument is hollow and according to local legend, was once used as a lock-up to keeps drunks, thieves, and other criminals on market days, which often got quite rowdy.   

The monument has suffered serious damage over the decades, mostly from the roots of a large lime tree which was growing next to it.

Northwich Guardian: The damage from the tree is visible at the bottom of the base on the right sideThe damage from the tree is visible at the bottom of the base on the right side (Image: Charlie Parkinson)

Campaigners to save the monument, including members of the public, Winsford town councillors, and officers from Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC), have been working hard for several years to get a restoration project up and running.

CWAC have now confirmed work started on Monday, October 2, including the removal of the lime tree that’s been responsible for so much of the damage.

A spokesman for CWAC said: “The Cross Base and Lock-up on Delamere Street is a significant local landmark with a unique history.

“We identified the grade II-listed structure as being at risk from continuous damage, initially caused by a mature tree close to it.

“The roots of the tree had begun to lift the south-eastern corner of the cross base, causing damage to the stonework.

“The project was split into two phases; phase one, to remove the tree and prevent further damage; and phase two, to undertake the necessary repair works to secure the listed structure for future generations of local residents.

“Phase one of these works has recently been completed with the tree being felled, allowing a member of CWAC's conservation and design team to assess the structure and the additional works required.

“The next step in this project will be to produce a schedule of works for the repairs, along with consideration of how the local community might get involved with learning more about the history of this unusual, listed structure.”

The monument was first listed on October 11, 1949, and has even given its name to an important local road, Saxon Crossway.

Former Winsford town councillor, Charlie Parkinson, who’s played a major part in the restoration campaign, says he hopes the works will include a plaque with information about the monument’s place in Winsford’s cultural history.  

He said: “The poor thing was crumbling, so this is a step in the right direction.

"We also need something there to tell residents and visitors what the cross is, and what it’s all about. It’s an important part of Winsford’s history.

“A lot of what we think we know is probably myth, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable from a cultural perspective.

“The council have promised to replace the tree with two others, as near to the original as possible, but we don’t yet know where they’re going to be.”