Until the passing of the Suicide Act (1961), suicide and attempted suicide were criminal offences under English Law.
Traditionally, criminals (particularly those who committed suicide) were buried at crossroads.
The significance of this practice is not entirely clear. One suggestion is that it ensured that burial took place outside of consecrated ground whilst at the same time ensuring that the Christian cross was represented in some form.
The practice may also have been linked in the popular imagination to the idea that any 'evil spirits' present following the death would be disoriented by the crossroads formation.