Cross will be put back, vows vicar
From the Oxford Mail, 2nd June 06
A wooden cross that stood high over south Oxfordshire has been pulled down after a six-year planning wrangle.
The 16ft-high wooden cross at Churn Knob, near Blewbury, marked the spot where St Birinus converted Wessex to Christianity in 634AD, and was the starting point of an annual pilgrimage.
It was put up by the Rev Edwin Clements, the parish priest for Hagbourne, Upton and Blewbury, in 2000.
But in 2003, despite the fact the cross had planning permission, English Heritage objected to it being placed at the Iron Age burial mound.
Last month the row came to a head when the Vale of the White Horse District Council gave Mr Clements 30 days to take it down.
Its removal ends a three year 'passive protest' by Mr Clements and his parishioners but he vowed the cross would be reinstated as close as possible to its original location.
Mr Clements said: "It was taken down, but we have had to leave it up there, it was so heavy.
"It will be put back up, but it's a question of selecting a visible site."
He added it was a sad day when the cross, which was visible from five of the six parishes in his district, was removed, because of what he called nit-picking.
Mr Clements, who has always maintained the cross was not on the mound itself, added: "A lot of people are disappointed it's not there and I have had lots of comments.
"Locally no-one was offended by it, everyone thought it was the ideal spot."
"But we had to give in in the end. I was afraid they might have taken it down and then charged us for it."
He said he was hoping to find a new location for the cross, close to its original site, and reinstate it later this summer.
Last month the Vale of the White Horse District Council confirmed it had asked Mr Clements to move the cross to an agreed location 100m from the burial mound, because of objections from English Heritage.
The conservation body said the cross had been erected without the necessary applications to make changes to a scheduled monument
Posted by Land_Raver
2nd June 2006ce
Edited 2nd June 2006ce