In 1278 Edward the 1st granted a charter allowing a weekly market, in addition to three days fair
per year to be to be held in June at the site in Bromborough. The cross was erected within the
centre of the market in order to help promote good sense of honesty trading and Christian ways.
There is no recorded existence as to whether the cross had this affect upon the traders and indeed
if it served its purpose. In fact there is no description of the original cross or its physical appearance.
In to all this there is no recorded documentation as to what happened to the market or the cross
over the following century's. The first documented information appears in 1762, when Gentleman's
Magazine from December 1762 quoted:
"There are also remains of an old cross in the village, on which a dial is now placed".
This information would suggest that the dial was not an original part of the cross, and has been
added at a later period. It does not however give us any answers as to what it would have
replaced. Nearly a century later the cross was amended again.
In 1843 the shaft and dial were replaced for reasons unknown, and a new a long shaft was added
with a head surmounted by a ball, engraved onto this was the date. In 1874 the popular architect
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was commissioned to update the cross. His new design was added that same
year and the old shaft and head were taken down and entrusted to the local authority for safe
keeping. Gilbert Scott's new design consisted yet again of a shaft and head which were very similar
to the old, but the new head was this time made from stone and had a small cross upon it. This was
known locally as "The Dovecote", and this is the cross which still stands today. The head however is
a different story.
In the summer of 1990 a motor vehicle accidentally struck the cross which damaged the integrity of
its structure. Six months later the head fell off and shattered upon the floor. Wirral Borough Council
arranged for the pieces to be collected and given to a stone mason in order for him to us them to
create an exact replica. In June 1991 the new head was installed upon the cross. It has been note
that the speed and haste of this project what down to pressure from the local Bromborough society
and they must be credited with this achievement.
There has always been a strong local rumour that the head of the Gilbert Scott design had been
stolen over the years. This is a rumour that still exists today however it is complete nonsense. The
rumour was started from the confusion of there being two market shafts and two heads over the
years. This gave rise to Chinese whispers and much confusion until the story of the head being
stolen was born. The facts are however quite different. The 1843 shaft and head that were taken
down to be replaced by Gilbert Scott's design were entrusted to the local authority. They were
originally placed i Manor House Farm, then in 1939 they were moved to the grounds of Stanhope
House when it was opened as a public library. There is documented evidence of them still being
there in 1964, however in 1978 they were reported as stolen and have not been seen again to this
day. It is unsure as to whether this was an act of vandalism or if the historical pieces now sit in
some selfish historian garden, what is highly certain is that the pieces were taken by somebody local
and are most likely still in the surrounding area.
Bromborough Cross Time line:
1278 The cross was installed into the market.
1762 First record of a dial being added to the cross.
1843 Dial taken off and new shaft & head added.
1874 Shaft and removed and a new head & cross added designed by Gilbert Scott.
Old shaft & head are placed into Manor House Farm.
1939 Old shaft & head moved from Manor House Farm to Stanhope House gardens.
1978 Shaft & head reported as being stolen from Stanhope House.
1990 A vehicle hits the cross and knocks off the head shattering it.
1991 A new head & cross is added which is an exact replica.
|The pictures below show the crosses at different times. One with and one without the c ross on top.