There is a saying that ‘mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun’. It was barely daylight, there was no sun, only a thin, white blanket over the world. But our sanity with this trip had already been called into question by a number of our friends, so it came as no surprise that we were out before dawn, all excited, to search the snow-dusted town for a couple of bits of carved stone. Not just any bits, mind you; the Sandbach Crosses are justifiably renowned.
We found them in the silent market square, long before there was anyone about. To be fair, you couldn’t really miss them, towering as they were, darkly into the sky. It is only as you approach that you begin to see the carvings… and it was for these we had come. We had seen pictures, but even so, my first thought at the size of these things ran to a whole, unprintable four letters.
You see, the Bakewell Crosses we know well. One is shorter than I, the other a fair bit taller. No more than that. The Eyam and Ilkley Crosses a little taller still. These two, standing proud on the stone steps, are huge. And even then they are incomplete… truncated from their original height… and may, in fact, be three, not two.
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