The earliest evidence of the existence of boundary crosses in Catalonia dates from the 10th century. They were placed on the boundaries of parishes and private properties, or used to delimit burial areas near churches. In addition to marking a boundary, they may also have been erected as expiatory monuments, serving as collective ex-votos, or simply to foster religious observance. Although it is said that James I of Aragon encouraged the construction of these monuments throughout the area, the fact is that the most ancient boundary crosses date from the 14th century, a few decades after his reign.
In all likelihood their function was not exclusively to delimit an area but also to bless it. This religious connotation would also have served to welcome visitors and make it clear that they were in a Christian area. Today we might call this the semantization of public space; that is, making it clear who is in charge of an area and what values are fostered there. In this respect it is also significant that these crosses began to spring up at a time of growing animosity towards Jews, or when the conquest of Saracen territories was still fresh in the collective memory.
As a result of subsequent urban growth, many boundary crosses ended up becoming part of the built-up area of towns and cities and were no longer external elements.
Several Gothic boundary crosses can be found in Anoia. Those with an interest in these striking religious elements can follow the Boundary Cross Route of Anoia:
1) JORBA: Boundary cross dating from 1609. It still retains some reliefs, which represent on one side the Crucified Christ and on the other the Virgin Mary. Four scenes of the Passion can be observed the upper section of the capital, while the lower section contains a niche in the form of a shell that houses two saints, one on each side.
2) SANT MARTÍ SESGUEIOLES: This Gothic boundary cross is located at the side of the road, at the entrance to the town, at the foot of ancient path known as strata cardonesa. One side of it displays an image of the Crucified Christ surrounded by the symbols of the Four Evangelists, while the other side has an image of the Virgin Mary. Although the base, shaft and capital are original, the cross itself is a faithful reproduction of the original, which was destroyed.
3) SANT MARTÍ DE TOUS: Located opposite the church. It was restored in 1960. It bears an image of the Crucified Christ on one side and that of the Virgin Mary on the other. The figures of various saints are sculpted on the capital.
4) PRATS DE REI: The reproduction of a Gothic boundary cross stands in front of the Church of Mare de Déu del Portal; the original is housed inside the parish church. As is customary, it displays an image of the Crucified Christ on one side and that of the Virgin Mary on the other. The capital is octagonal and is decorated with figures of saints.
5) LA LLACUNA: The boundary cross of the La Llacuna Plain dates from the 15th century (Gothic) and is located at the side of the road leading to La Llacuna, coming from the Igualada – Querol road, some 500 metres from La Llacuna.
6) SANTA MARIA DE MIRALLES: This cross is located at the side of the path that links the Igualada road to the Françola farmhouse. It is in the Gothic style of the 14th century. It does not have the form of a cross but rather that of an eight-pointed star or medallion. It displays the image of the Crucified Christ on one side, flanked by two angels, while the other side bears an image of the Virgin Mary, also flanked by two angels. The coat of arms of the Cervelló family, who ruled over the municipal district between the 10th and 15th centuries, is displayed between the cross and the capital. The octagonal capital has geometric forms. The shaft is not original but rather was added when the cross was restored in 1940.
7) PUJALT: This Gothic boundary cross only retains the shaft and the octagonal capital, which displays saint figures. A coat of arms can be observed, featuring a rabbit and some scissors.