The Lancashire villages of Hesketh Bank, Becconsall & Tarleton

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MYSTERY OF THE STONE CROSS FUED
There is now over 200 years of mystery surrounding the stone crosses of Tarleton and Sollom. Below you will find a number of articles and submissions on the topic, non of which are conlusive and often lead to more questions than answers. Can you help by adding any further information?
Evidence suggests the site of Tarleton Cross was at the junction of Blackgate Lane and Church Road.
The base of Sollom Cross is still in existence (?)

The base of a stone cross was revored in the early 1930's from a pond off Hesketh Lane, Tarleton
The recovery of a stone cross base from a pond off Hesketh Lane.

The above photograph was submitted by Trevor Barron whos Grandfather, George Barron, was the blacksmith (back row 2nd left). Trevor writes "There is good evidence to suggest the location of the pond is on land at the back of what is now Tarleton High School and on an 1840's map there appears to be a pond shown in this very location. I believe the two houses on the left of the picture to be on Meolsgate Avenue and the house in the centre being that owned by 'Chubby' Iddon (back row, 6th from right). Chubby owned the land on which the High School now stands and laterly lived in the bungalow (now a Childrens Nursery) next to the High School."
~O~

Lancashire Daily Post circa 1930's

SEARCH FOR CROSS - AFTER 150 YEARS
BASE DRAGGED FROM A POND
MIDNIGHT TRIUMPH
Tarleton and Sollom Feud - the Next Step

This is the story of the mystery of Sollom Cross, which is not yet quite solved after 150 years.
Tradition relates that 150 years ago, Tarleton village and Sollom, one of its hamlets, each possessed a cross, standing on a base in a prominent spot.
One day Tarleton awakened to find its cross missing, and as there was deadly rivalry between the villagers and the people of Sollom, the former naturally thought that Sollom folk had taken their cross.
So they went and took Sollom's cross and put it up on their own base in Tarleton. Sollom objected, and late one night recovered their property. Three nights later Tarleton raided Sollom, and after a pitched battle, at which there were several casualties, they recaptured the cross and base, brought it back to the village, and, continues tradition, threw the lot in a pond in Hesketh Lane.

Something Found
And there the matter rested - until a month ago.
Then Mr. Herbert Barron, of Green Bank poultry farm, Tarleton, was cleaning out the pond on his property, and struck what he took to be a huge stone.
Recalling the old legend he immediately informed the Rector (Rev. L. N. Forse), and steps were taken to salvage the stone.
News spread like wildfire all round the district, and Sollom, with their inherited spirit of revenge, turned up to see what was going to happen.
But the mystery thickened. It was discovered that there was a base in both Sollom and Tarleton - so what exactly the stone in t1ie pond was remained to be seen.
"Whatever it is," said Sollom, “is ours. You would not have thrown it in if it belonged to you.”
At all events last night Tarleton decided to solve the mystery of the pond once and for all. Unfortunately Sollom decided to do the same and got there early with waggons, motors, chains, anchors - and a diver.
The diver donned a bathing costume and went into the filthy water up to his neck and, walking up and down, said he could feel something like a cross.
Dragging operations were begun, but after struggling from three o'clock until eight Sollom had to give up the job, beaten, and they decided to come again to-day.
Meanwhile, Tarleton men were looking on, some stating that they would not take the cross to Sollom even if they got it out. After the Sollom men had gone, Tarleton had a committee meeting and decided to try and get it out themselves.

Strong Words
Electric light was fixed up, hoisting tackle was obtained, and the local blacksmith was set to work making grappling irons at nine o'clock.
All arrangements had practically been made at ten o'clock when, to the surprise of the Tarleton men, Sollom reappeared with another diver to put a chain around the cross and pull it out.
The situation became rather ugly, and after some strong words had been spoken by both parties the owner of the land intervened, and said that Sollom had had a good chance to get the cross out. It was now Tarleton's turn.
The opportunity was accepted and Tarleton immediately set to work before hundreds of spectators. They got the grappling irons around the stone, the guy ropes strained, pulleys creaked - but the cross refused to come out,
After further tugging the grappling irons buckled and broke away, much to the delight of the Sollom contingent, who celebrated the failure by turning out all the lights.
Thinking that no further step would be taken that night Sollom went away.
Tarleton, however, with the assistance of a local contractor and foreman of the Douglas Catchment Board, stuck to their task, and at midnight the grapples got a good hold and the stone was raised to the surface.
Amid terrific cheers the grapples were made still firmer and about 25 men and 12 women got hold of the hoisting rope and a large stone weighing about 12 cwt., was dragged to the bank.
Cheer after cheer was given for the gangers and the local blacksmith, and the party went to bed at one o'clock, leaving what proved to be a stone base on the bank.

Where is the Cross?
But what of the cross: Is it still there?
Sounding operations have been made, and according to one of the divers there is "something like a cross" still in six feet of water.
An old villager has come forward with an interesting reminiscence.
He says in days of old there was an iron post on the bank of the pond where people hung their buckets when they went to get water. The post has been missing for years, and he thinks it may be in the pond.

I visited the spot this morning - (writes a “Lancashire Daily Post” reporter) - and found matters at a deadlock. The base of the cross is there all right, and there is no doubt of its genuiness. But what of the cross?
The Rector told me that if they get it out - and he is prepared to finance any such endeavour - he thinks the only way to settle the ownership will be to hold a leet court and let independent judges decide.
In the meantime Sollom and Tarleton are awaiting each other's next move.

Published by kind permission of the "Lancashire Evening Post"
formerly the "Lancashire Daily Post".

~O~
Sollom Cross - a Lament
A Reply to Sollom Cross Lament

Listen, men of Sollom,
A word I'll have with you,
Your efforts to recover me,
Would leave an infant blue.

I felt your diver tickle me,
And even felt your pull,
You caused a ripple on the pond,
My life was not as dull.

And then you did abandon me,
T'was too hard work: you said,
You toddled off to Sammy's,
And then you thought, to bed.

Not so the men of Tarleton,
"To action" was their cry,
The cross must be recovered,
Not just left there to die.

Strong arms were soon around me,
A miss, a move, a heave,
Bravo, strong men of Tarleton,
This pond I sure shall leave.

They hauled me out so workmenlike,
And washed my slimy face,
If I belong to Sollom,
I'd ne'er live through the disgrace.

If you take me back to Sollom,
I'll haunt you when about,
I'll whisper in your earholes,
T'was Tarleton get me out.

Anon

At a meeting held in Sammy's,
Where all good spirits blend,
Sat brawny men of Sollom,
This controversy to end.

It was a solemn conference,
Not quite devoid of wit,
For when the meeting ended,
This was what they writ,

Why cross do you accuse us so,
Who have always mourned your loss,
And take up sides with Tarleton foes,
Whose ancestors stole our cross

Behind their work old Satan lies,
who surely helps his own,
His Tarleton friends he glorifies,
And helps them raise the stone.

But honest working men of brawn,
From them have nought to fear,
For when the devil claims his own,
The cross of Sollom will appear.

Anon

~O~
"In the olden days, Tarleton formed part of the parish of Croston. To attend worship at Croston, the Tarleton parishioners had to cross the river Douglas and the Yarrow; the land was often flooded, so much so that the land on the east of Bank Hall was called 'Crossfords'. Therefore, preaching often took place at the Cross (near Blackgate Lane End), and a little place of worship was erected at the Holy Well of St. Ellyn, on high ground not far from Bank Hall, the home of the Lord of the Manor."
"The canal traffic brought prosperity to the hamlet of Sollom. At Sollom Lock was a public house, a number of cottages, one of which was a tramps' lodging house, and in Sollom itself was the Cross, the base of which is still standing."
Extracts from History and Recollections of Tarleton by Janet Dandy Published in 1985
~O~
"There are three chief roads in Tarleton, one forming part of the highway between Preston and Liverpool; another connects Becconsall with Tarleton; the third is Blackgate Lane, joining North Meols with Tarleton. It will be noticed that as "gate" is an old term for "road," Blackgate means black road (so called from the colour of the moss soil), and the addition of lane is superfluous. Where these roads united was the centre of Tarleton village; here were the Grammar School, the cross, and the stocks"
Extract from Notes On Southport and District by The Rev. W. T. Bulpit, 1908
~O~