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On the east side of Flint, after the River of Dee, is a small river, and an old cross which place is called Adecross.’

John Dee, Harley MS. 473 f.3 (1574)

Lost now. The ancient cross that stood, likely close to the Pandy and probably beneath the modern housing estate to its near north west, gave its name to what was once the Anglo-Saxon hundred of Atiscross, named so in the Domesday Book of 1086.

 

For the hundred to have taken the name of this landmark, is terribly interesting, since it would suggest that it was of some considerable stature and renown. Speculation has suggested that it would have been of the same form as that of the famous Maen Achwyfan at Whitford and the Dyserth Crosses, now within St Bridget’s - Norse inspired, all plaitwork, rig-knots and concentric circles. This due to what has been established as a considerable Norse influence on the Flintshire coast, if not an actual Norse presence. As such it would have been very early, possibly 10th or early 11th century. Unfortunately, speculation is all that it can be, since there is now no trace of the cross.

 

It is worth noting that this area of North Wales, Tegeingl, was much disputed between the Anglo-Saxons (and later the Normans, of course) and the Welsh Kingdom of Gwynedd - so named the Perfeddwlad, the middle country, as a result. Tegeingl was heavily wooded - which the Normans found to their cost on more than one occasion, but the coastal area was likely cleared, probably by the Romans who developed the area known as Pentre Ffwrndan as a site of lead smelting and distribution. Croes Ati, as all medieval crosses, would likely have been placed in a highly visible position, and its raising here, close to the coast, could suggest a continuation of settlement. It has also been suggested that Croes Ati was raised here in the mistaken belief that the grown over heaps of lead spoil were evidence of a pre-Christian battle and burial.

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The Pandy - to the near east of the supposed site of Croes Ati

When it was finally lost is unknown, but we have at least two references to the cross being in place and present. John Dee, the famous if not notorious Tudor mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, alchemist and occultist remembered the cross in situ in roughly the spot indicated on much later 19th century Ordnance Survey maps, but gives no details as to its appearance. Thomas Pennant, writing at the end of the 18th century, remembers the cross in much reduced circumstances.

 

About a mile from the town, on the lower road to Chester, stood a cross, whose pedestal I remember, which was called Atis-cross, and the land around still called Croes-ati.

Thomas Pennant, Tours in Wales Vol. 1 (1778)

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This modern housing estate is likely the spot where once Croes Ati was once stood, centre of the Hundred of Atiscross.

Between Dee and Pennant, a period of some 200 years, the cross had been reduced to its base. There are, as far as can be established, no references to the remains of a cross here in any works of the 19th century or later. By the time of the Royal Commission's visit in June 1910, there was no remaining sign. Excavations in the area of Atiscross and Pentre Ffwrndan in the 20th century, specifically searching for a Roman presence, found no remains of a cross at all. None were reported in the building of the large estate now on the supposed site of the cross. It is then, frustratingly lost, among those medieval crosses that we know to have existed, were seen and written of, but which have now disappeared.

 

It’s disappearance is one of the irreparable losses of Welsh archaeology.

RCAHMC, Flint, (1912), p.30

 

 

 

Further Reading

 

 

J. Dee, Harley MS. 473 f.3 (1574)

 

Thomas Pennant, Tours in Wales Vol I (1778), ed. J. Rhys, Caernarvon (1883)

 

RCAHMC, An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments of Wales and Monouthshire, County of Flint, London, (1912)

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