Crosby, originally known as Croshbyr (Sudric for Cross Farm), is a small seaside town renowned for its fresh air.
Crosby's name derives from the remarkable stone cross which stands on a mound in the churchyard. It is unique on the Island of Sodor and though it bears an affinity to that at Gosforth in Cumbria, anything quite like it has been seen anywhere else. It dates from the early 11th Century when the revival of Christianity on the Island began to take hold.
A cross of Celtic pattern is mounted 10ft above ground on a single slab of stone. It is a Preaching Cross and the carvings on each of the four faces give some idea of the method missionaries had to use in order to get their message across to people steeped in Norse mythology. Beginning with the south face and working round clockwise, each face portrays legends with which all were then familiar. The Creation of the World is represented with the First and Golden Age. The Wars of the Gods then shatter this harmony. This leads to The Gods' Twilight with Chaos supervening. Finally the eastern face portrays the coming of the promised Son of the Gods - the All Powerful - and the Dawn of a New Age. This consummation is shown by the Crucifixion with Mary Magdalene and Longinus at the foot of the cross, while the final triumph of good is symbolised below them by The Lamb trampling serpents under foot.
The cross stood undisturbed for some 600 years until James Catherick, a Puritan preacher from the Isle of Man was intruded into the benefice during the Commonwealth. Catherick took great exception to "graven images" and called repeatedly for the destruction of "this monstrous idol". Crosby people were outraged. It is not to be supposed that they appreciated its value, but it was theirs and with true Sudrian spirit they were not going to allow any foreigner to tell them what to do with it. They sent word to their real Vicar, the Rev. Samuel Heyhoe and waited for their opportunity.
Since no Crosby people would volunteer to help him, Catherick had to enlist "godly helpers" from outside. Two days later he returned to find that in his absence the Cross had "unaccountably" disappeared. Catherick was furious. Not only had he been made to look a fool, but he was also out of pocket; for in order to induce his "godly helpers" to come at all, he had had to pay them in advance and this payment they now flatly refused to return. As was to be expected he was unable to get any information from the village. All professed to be as surprised and mystified as he, but he could not escape the impression that behind their dead-pan faces the whole village was laughing at him. Legend has it that Hell Fire, Brimstone and the Dreadful Fate of Sinners loomed large in his sermons for the next few months.
At the Restoration, Mr Heyhoe was re-instated and a few weeks later the Cross, little the worse for its adventure, was levered into its socket amid general rejoicing. It is regretted by some that the church does not match the cross. Little remains of the original 11th Century building. The first church was a small one consisting of nave and chancel only. This, with embellishments put in during the 13th and 14th Centuries, survived until the 1860's and by then was in great need of restoration. Crosby’s popularity as a health resort had then begun and the need was felt for a larger building to match the town's expected growth. The old church was accordingly pulled down and reconstructed. Aisles were added on both sides of the nave and the result was virtually a new church with little reference to the old. Its links with past ages were lost, but as a Victorian period piece it nevertheless has its charm. One link with the churchyard cross there is, albeit a tenuous one. Walk down the centre aisle to the Chancel arch and lift the carpet at the foot of the pulpit steps. A stone slab covers James Catherick’s remains laid here at his own wish in 1659. The epitaph reads:
"James Catherick lies here, whose name alone the pulpit will preserve, without this stone".
None of his sermons have survived; nevertheless his attempt to destroy their Cross and their success in foiling it, has kept Catherick's memory green in Crosby's local legend. For the rest, Crosby is a quiet seaside town with the same salubrious air as Wellsworth and is popular with visitors and convalescents alike.
From 1870 until 1912, Crosby was the Wellsworth and Suddery Railway's terminus; then the line was extended to Knapford following the agreement made in that year to amalgamate with the Tidmouth, Knapford and Elsbridge Light Railway. During the same year, a tunnel about 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) in length was built.
In the Television Series
In the television series, it appeared in the second and fifth seasons. It was later mentioned in the seventeenth season episode, Gordon Runs Dry. The station consists of two platforms, each with a building and connected by a footbridge, with three lines running through.
The Crosby Coal Company is located here. According to some magazines, a castle is located near the station as well. Gordon once collided with the last truck of Duck's train here, when George blocked the line.
- On some maps of Sodor, it is misspelt "Crusby".
- The barber shop was removed from the siding in the fifth season.