Banburyshire Rambles Photo-Journal

Paul Mobbs’ photographic record of his walks around ‘Banburyshire’ and ‘The Irondowns’, and occasionally, as part of his work around Britain, the areas beyond.

Banburyshire’s Ancient Sites:
Sarsden Wayside Cross

Seemingly a backwater today, Sarsden Cross sits at what a few centuries ago would have been a significant local crossroads. Probably restored from its original form, in keeping with the nearby Seventeenth Century manor house, it still makes a lovely spot to sit and have a break after the climb up into Sarsden.

Summary for ‘Sarsden Wayside Cross’:

Location: Sarsden, Oxfordshire

Type: ‘Standing Stones & Circles’.

Condition: Scenic wayside cross at intersection of two local ridge routes

Access: On a public road.

OS Grid Ref.: SP290232

Further information: Historic England.

Walks posts for site:
The Anomalous Megalith.
A Beltane Megaliths Trail.

Is Sarsden Cross is representative of anything, it’s the way in which advances in road transport, first with carriages, and then with cars, have continually re-mapped the routes we travel. What was once a well-travelled route is now a marooned backwater.

Like the nearby stone cross at Kiddington, further on down this route, Sarsden probably started out as a Medieval wayside cross. Unlike Kiddington, the landscaping of Sarsden Manor led to this cross receiving some restoration, probably in the Nineteenth Century.

The road from what was once the Norman Bruern Abbey, across the River Evenlode at the foot of the hill, ran past here. Just out of sight that road turns into a single-track road, and then a rough track through Sarsgrove Woods, to join the Old London Road towards Oxford at the Chadlington Downs.

The road from Churchill turns into a track as it enters the Sarsden estate. Running through the estate, it exits through a pair of fine stone gateposts in an empty field. That track continues past The Roundabout Iron Age settlement, and Lyneham Long Barrow, to connect with The Jurassic Way and the main road south.

While Sarsden Wayside Cross doesn’t have the ancient character of nearby Kiddington, the crossroads on which it stands is quite imposing. Walking those route, to appreciate what significant connections this spot once had in the local landscape, gives this site and its cross a very different status.