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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Tuesday, 16th December, 2014)

Lady Mabel's Wood

Lady Mabel's Wood
Lady Mabel's Wood is just 3 miles out of central Wigan, bordered by Wigan Lane and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Photo: Ron Dawber  (Canon PowerShot G9)
Views: 4,319

Comment by: Mick on 16th December 2014 at 00:03

They have made this area nice, with nice footpaths

In summer you get a lot of butterflys around there

Comment by: Derek Platt on 16th December 2014 at 02:10

Who the heck was Lady Mabel. Is the building in the distance Haigh Hall. By the way nice pic. good composition.

Comment by: maggie on 16th December 2014 at 09:33

Lady Mabel is "Mab" of Mab's Cross.

Comment by: dirty harry on 16th December 2014 at 11:12

lady mabel is a real bad dude and use to live in the hall back in the day .on a good day and the weather conditions were right she is said to roam the woods bare footed no dout looking for them butterflys what mick as mentioned at the top of the page.

Comment by: Ron D on 16th December 2014 at 11:24

While her husband was away fighting the Alkyda with Richard the lion heart ,lady Mabel was having it off with some other geezer,When he got back,after being demobbed ,Mabel for her sins had to walk bare foot from Haigh hall to Wigan lane,this made Mabs cross.

Comment by: Alan H on 16th December 2014 at 11:42

Derek Platt can't be a Wiganer if he doesn't know who Lady Mabel is. Does he not know of Mab's Cross either?

Comment by: Fred Mason on 16th December 2014 at 12:03


According to local legend the cross is named after Lady Mabel Bradshaw. The legend, recorded in a family history published in 1645, says that when Sir William Bradshaw, her husband, failed to return from the crusades she married a Welsh knight. When Bradshaw unexpectedly returned from a ten year campaign, he murdered his wife's new husband in Newton-le-Willows while he was trying to escape.[3] Lady Mabel did penance for her bigamy by walking from Haigh Hall to a stone cross in Wigan "bare footed and bare legged" once a week for as long as she lived.[3] In another version of the legend, recorded by Norris of Speke in 1564, the Welsh knight is named as Henry Teuther, Sir William is absent for seven years on pilgrimage rather than a crusade and the penance involving the cross is not mentioned.[4]

Comment by: Aubrey on 16th December 2014 at 12:32

Ron, nice picture.
Derek, does Mabs Cross ring a bell?

Comment by: Helen on 16th December 2014 at 12:44

Oh Dear Derek...never heard of Mab's Cross ? It used to be near the top end of Swinley Lane I think. Come on someone, tell us the story.

Comment by: Anne on 16th December 2014 at 13:20

Every Wigan child was brought up with the tale of Mabs cross in my young days. Grand dad trailed me round the town showing me many oddities now long gone.

Comment by: Aubrey on 16th December 2014 at 13:46

I forgot to mention that Lady Mabel's tomb is in Wigan Parish Church, there for all to see and read about.

Comment by: Neil Cain on 16th December 2014 at 14:01

One theory I saw recently reckons Sir William had been captured at the Battle of Bannockburn and that was why he was away for ten years until he obtained his freedom. I have often stopped at the Bloody Stone in Newton when it has rained hoping to see the bloody stone turn from green to red. It never has. Has anyone ever seen it red?

Comment by: Garry on 16th December 2014 at 14:33

Mabs Cross..Vauxhall dealer in Swinley.

Comment by: Garry on 16th December 2014 at 14:35

Derick's not a true Wiganner.

Comment by: Derek Platt on 16th December 2014 at 16:21

I am definitely a Wiganer, but not everyone is a history buff. I do know of Mabs Cross, used to walk past it many times when it was outside Mabs Cross Motors on Bridgeman Terrace. Anyway are we talking historical fact or is it all fantasy.I mean about Mabel.

Comment by: tricia on 16th December 2014 at 16:51

Mab's Cross used to be on the pavement opposite Wigan Girls' High. When the road was widened it was relocated to the grounds in front of the school but I have no idea if it is still there.
Lady Mabel married the other knight because she believed her husband had died. Her husband chased him to Newton le Willows and killed him. There is a stone there on the right and side of the road, set into the edge of the pavement where it is reputed to have happened and it really does look like blood on the stone.
Correct me if I am having a senior moment but aren't the tombs of the Bradsheighs in the Chancel at the Parish Church ?

Comment by: Julie on 16th December 2014 at 18:16

Anne you are so wrong! 'Every Wigan child,'
As children we ventured no further than the fields at the base of our council estate. We played and grew up there. Am I not a true Wiganner in your eyes because I don't know Mabs Cross or any other area just as you? It upsets me that to justify my heritage I need to complete an history /geography exam!

Comment by: Julie on 16th December 2014 at 18:31

Thanks Tricia.

Comment by: Neil Cain on 16th December 2014 at 18:55

Tricia if you're coming from Wigan surely the Bloody Stone is on the left hand side.

Comment by: ann21 on 16th December 2014 at 19:20

Ron, I have heard all the tale about Lady Mabel and Mab's Cross but never heard of this wood. I am trying to figure out where abouts it is near Wigan Lane.

Comment by: Neil Cain on 16th December 2014 at 19:49

For the best account of the tale of Mabel and Sir William see the late Fred Holcroft's excellent little book Murder Terror and Revenge In Medieval Lancashire, possibly still on sale at the Museum of Wigan Life. It shoots the Bannockburn theory down and shows owd Billy to have been outlawed.

Comment by: tricia on 16th December 2014 at 19:58

Hi Neil
Its awhile since I went there but I think it was on the right, and at the time there was a car showroom near there as I recall.
My Dad took us to see it after we were told about it at school but it was difficult to find it when I went back in the 80's.

Comment by: Neil Cain on 18th December 2014 at 15:30

Tricia I have seen a photo which suggests the stone has been moved back from the roadside so perhaps they moved it to the other side of the road too. Your memory would therefore be correct.

Comment by: tricia on 18th December 2014 at 17:48

Thanks for that Neil. Will try to get to see it when next in UK.
At school we were also told abut a pig on the tower of Winwick church. Took us ages to spot that as it is small and quite high up. I forget its significance though

Comment by: Neil Cain on 19th December 2014 at 08:34

The story is that when they started to build the Church every night the stones got moved. However many times they tried next morning the stones had moved in the night. They found it was a pig moving the stones so took it as a sign God wanted it built at the site the pig had moved the stones to.

Comment by: nephro on 19th December 2014 at 10:03

When I was a little lad the cross was on the left hand side of the road going up wigan lane from Greenough street, and the only car sales showroom was Fred Grimes after it moved from the back yard of Billy Woods pub.

Comment by: tricia on 19th December 2014 at 21:24

When I mentioned the car showroom it was in relation to the stone at Newton le Willows

Comment by: Bill on 23rd December 2014 at 00:53

Lady Mabel's wool is accessed from Wigan lane via Leyland Mill Lane then up Hall Lane and is on the left before the lodge at the top. Or from Haigh bridge over the canal , walk towards red rock and its just on the left. In short between Wigan RUFC and Hall Lane

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