E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
No evil thing that walks by night, blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost, no goblin, or smart fairy of the mine, has power to cross a lane; once in a lane, the spirit of evil is in a fix. The reason is obvious: a lane is a spur from a main road, and therefore forms with it a sort of , quite near enough to the shape of a cross to arrest such simple folk of the unseen world as care to trouble the peaceful inmates of the world we live in.