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The Legend of Mab's Cross

"Sir William Bradshaigh, second son to Sir John, was a great traveller and a soldier, and married to Mabel, daughter and sole heiress of Hugh Norres de Haghe [Haigh] and Blackrode, and had issue, etc.  Of this Mabel is a story by tradition of undoubted verity, that in Sir William Bradshaigh's absence (being ten years away in holy wars) she married a Welsh knight.  Sir William, returning from the wars, came in a palmer's habit amongst the poor to Haghe; Mabel, who when she saw and congetringe [conjecturing] he favoured [resembled] her former husband, wept - for which the knight [her second husband] chastised her; at which Sir William went and made himself known to his tenants; in which space the knight fled, but near to Newton Park, Sir William over took and slew him.  The said Dame Mabel was enjoined by her confessor to do penance by going once every week, bare footed and bare legged, to a cross near Wigan from Haghe, whilst she lived, and [it is] called Mabb's to this day."

Drawn from the genealogical roll of the Bradshaighs by "Mr. Roby"
Quoted in "Lancashire Legends" by J. Harland and T.T. Wilkinson, 1873
Republished by EP Publishing Ltd, 1973

Article by Adrian Morris