Crossley, Frederick Herbert

From Hoole History and Heritage Society


Frederick Herbert Crossley FSA (2 August 1868 – 6 January 1955), known as Fred Crossley or Fred H. Crossley, was a British wood carver, designer and an authority on Medieval English architecture, church furnishings and also timberwork. Together with Thomas Rayson, he designed the Chester War Memorial in the grounds of Chester Cathedral and later worked on the restoration of the Cathedral Refectory, designing and overseeing the installation of its new roof. Crossley published extensively and, in 1946, a study of Welsh rood screens he undertook in conjunction with Maurice Ridgway was awarded the G. T. Clark prize. At one point Crossley lived at Shavington Avenue, Hoole. He died in Hoole in 1955.

Crossley was born in Yorkshire in 1868, moving to Cheshire in 1887. He started his working career as a farm apprentice near Knutsford but, after taking local courses in wood carving, he gave up farming and pursued this interest for the rest of his life. He attended the Manchester School of Art during the 1890s undertaking further studies in wood carving, drawing and design. In 1898 Crossley was appointed a teacher of drawing and wood carving by Cheshire County Council. He also undertook commissions for wood carvings and examples of his work can be seen in various churches in Cheshire at Over Peover, Bunbury and Plemstall. In Crossley's obituary for the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, the author, Percy Culverwell Brown, refers to the fact that Crossley became an "ardent photographer" and, in the obituary for The Antiquaries Journal, he is described as "easily the finest photographer of architectural detail of his time". Not only did Crossley use his photographs, together with plans and drawings he executed, in his books and articles, but was generous in making prints available to students.

In 1932 he donated his large collection of negatives, totalling some 10,000, to The Courtauld Institute of Art in London where his photographs are held in the Conway Library.


Crossley was the author of many books and articles. His books include English Church Woodwork (1917), English Church Monuments (1921), The English Abbey (1935), English Church Craftsmanship (1941), English Church Design, 1040-1540 A.D. (1945), Timber Building in England (1951), and Cheshire (1949), one of the most popular volumes in the County Series published by Messrs. Robert Hale.

His articles and papers are too numerous to list, but they can be found in the volumes published by the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society and The Chester and North Wales Archaeological Society, as well as in the pages of other learned societies up and down England and Wales. He became a member of the CNWArch Society in 1915 and was elected to honorary membership in 1946.

The following papers are available from the Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire & Cheshire:

  • Vol. 68. Stallwork in Cheshire.
  • Vol. 69. The Church Screens of Cheshire.
  • Vol. 70. On the remains of mediaeval Stallwork in Lancashire.
  • Vol. 76. Mediaeval monumental effigies in Cheshire.
  • Vol. 91. The post-Reformation effigies and monuments of Cheshire.
  • Vol. 92. The Timber-framed Churches of Cheshire.
  • Vol. 95. Church building in Cheshire during the Thirteenth Century.
  • Vol. 97. Designs in Screens and Stallwork found in the borderland of England and Wales

A list of works with links to PDFs is available from the Archaeology Data Service.

Sources and Links