Turf cross memorials of Nottinghamshire

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Some unusual wayside memorials

By R B Parish

When a fatality was recorded in some parishes, a cross would be cut in the turf. This appears as far as I am aware to be a Nottinghamshire speciality and so far I have located two such sites.  

An 1893 bicycle fatality is record half-way between Edwinstowe and Church Warsop, in what was formerly Clipstone Park. It was cut on the grass margin to the north of the road and filled with white stones. When it grassed over is unclear but nothing remains to remember the accident today.

Coincendentally, during the same year, a similar cross was cut in Clifton.  Bruce (1906) records a similar cross next to 'the road to Nottingham about 150 yards from the green', marking the exact spot where in the early hours of the 5th June 1893, Samuel Daykin, a Clifton gamekeeper, 'died in the execution of his duty' challenging a group of poachers. Interestingly, when the poachers were captured, they were proclaimed not guilty suggesting that as Daykin carried a gun it was self defence. 

The case attracted a lot of publicity and they men celebrated their acquittal with a brass band accompanied parade through the streets of Nottingham. The treating of these men as heroes may have been a reflection of tensions between authority and the common man. However, soon after the shooting, Daykin’s widow was provided with a cottage by the then Clifton manor holder, Sir Hervey Bruce. Furthermore, the Clifton residents must have felt the shooting was unjust, for it was maintained for forty seven years after the incident, only ending the custom of cutting it around the Second World War!

One wonders if any other examples existed here or in other counties.



Bruce, R., (1906) Clifton Book

Stapleton, A., (1912) A catalogue of Nottinghamshire crosses

This page was added by R B Parish on 26/03/2013.

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