Parish boundary crosses make Sutton St James historically “precious”
Sutton St James has an unusual historic claim to fame because it is home to the remains of three medieval parish boundary crosses.
Peter Thatcher went in search of the crosses after finding a record of a similar cross on an old, six-inch Ordnance Survey map in his home village of Gorefield.
Mr Thatcher revealed his findings to Sutton St James Parish Council.
He said: “You are not quite unique but you are precious with having so many in this vicinity.”
Mr Thatcher told councillors he’s not an expert but he believes all three stones are listed and suggested steps are taken to preserve them, perhaps sharing costs with neighbouring parishes.
Parish council chairman Bill Harrison said: “It would be worth protecting them because they could disappear for the future.”
Mr Thatcher said the cross at Master Dyke is definitely the best specimen and “reasonably safe” while the cross north of Poultry Farm, at the corner of Draw Dyke and Wanton’s Lane, and a third beside crossroads on Old Fen Dike are in more perilous positions.
The Draw Dyke cross was found with the help of a local farmer, and Mr Thatcher eventually spotted what looked like “a piece of half-buried concrete”, partly covered by grass and soil, and showing signs of damage from farm vehicles.
The Old Fen Dike cross is leaning backwards and Mr Thatcher fears it could fall into the dyke and is in obvious danger from roadside mowing.
Mr Thatcher says medieval structures in fenland are few and far between.
He would like to see grass mown around each of the stones and kerb stones placed nearby to help identify and protect them.