Ancient Monuments

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Little John's Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Alphington, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7114 / 50°42'40"N

Longitude: -3.5569 / 3°33'24"W

OS Eastings: 290170.69707

OS Northings: 91349.07007

OS Grid: SX901913

Mapcode National: GBR P0.4QX9

Mapcode Global: FRA 37F6.B46

Entry Name: Little John's Cross

Scheduled Date: 25 July 1955

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002495

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 327

County: Devon

Electoral Ward/Division: Alphington

Built-Up Area: Exeter

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Alphington St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Wayside cross called Little John’s Cross.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 5 November 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes a wayside cross known as Little John’s Cross which is situated in a garden close to a junction cross roads on the Exeter to Moretonhampstead road. The cross survives as a 15th century socket stone, shaft, arms and has a later head. The socket stone is square below but octagonal at the top. It supports a slightly tapering cross shaft of rectangular section at the base which has been chamfered above to form an octagon. The arms are straight and the head above the arms is a restoration. The cross is approximately 1.9m high. The name ‘Lyttelljohnes cross’ appears in a documentary reference dated 1537 and Littlejohn is the surname of an important local landowning family in the 15th century.

This cross is also listed at Grade II.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as way markers. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking settlements, or on routes which might have a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long distance routes frequented on pilgrimages. Their survival since the Reformation has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. Despite restoration of its head and some cracks in its shaft, Little John’s Cross still retains most of its original features and survives comparatively well.

Source: Historic England


Masson Phillips, E. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part 2, Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 70, (1938), p 323
PastScape Monument No:- 448334

Source: Historic England

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