|Ancient Monument, Reaps Cross|
re-erected on Heptonstall Moor
Sunday, July 7, 2002 |
Saturday 6 July 2002 was a great day for all those interested in the restoration of Reap's Cross. A group of local people have joined together their skills and energies over the last 2 years to make sure that the ancient cross which has lain on the moor broken in two throughout living memory would be restored and re-erected to its former glory.
The cross, which is made out of the local gritstone, dates from the 1400s, and has marked the way for those 600 years from Heptonstall to Colne via Widdop. It marks an ancient pathway which crosses the Pennines. There was a botched attempt to put the Cross back together earlier this century but the iron pins did little for the Cross's features and have been removed in the present repair.
Jim Gault, who owns and runs Stonecraft quarry above the fell overlooking Eastwood, specialises in stonework sculpture and repair. When Patrick Savage of Edge Hey Green Colden came up with the idea of repairing the Cross, Jim jumped to the assistance of the community group.
The group removed the Cross from its position on Water Board land high up on the Heptonstall Moor on 29 July 2000. The Foot and Mouth epidemic prevented the Cross from being returned to the moor in 2001; so Saturday 6th July 2002 was a fantastic occasion when friends and supporters of Reap's Cross returned to the Moor to see Jim, Patrick and a team of skilled helpers led by Graham Walker re-erect the Cross.
While the Cross has been at the Stonecraft quarry, Jim has repaired it to the specifications agreed with English Heritage. Reap's Cross is an Ancient Monument and is also classed as grade 2 listed building. Patrick Savage gained consent for the repair from The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, providing that the repair was approved to the standard laid down by English Heritage. Jim used his specialist equipment at the quarry to cut the broken ends of the cross and to sculpture a new piece of stone to sit between the 2 broken ends, with the 2 parts of the cross joined by a stainless steel rod which was inserted into the holes specially drilled into the 2 broken parts and though the middle of the new piece of sculptured stone -a masterpiece of engineering and stonework design.
Graham Walker and his team of farmers used tractors and a sling and a specialised lifting device attached to one of the tractors to enable the top section of the cross to be raised 20 feet into the air so that the top part of the cross with the stainless steel rod could be lowered into the lower half of the cross which now stands in the rock on the moor - a brilliant piece of team work and skill which was captured on Yorkshire Television's Calendar programme.
The cross now stands magnificently 15 foot high in its original position on Heptonstall Moor - a splendid landmark for all to see.
The plaque on the cross reads 'Reaps Cross Re-erected July 2002 by the people of this hillside'
Thanks to Patrick Savage for this news item and Cyn Gault for the picture