Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Foxton Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5085 / 50°30'30"N

Longitude: -3.9588 / 3°57'31"W

OS Eastings: 261198.041178

OS Northings: 69465.691

OS Grid: SX611694

Mapcode National: GBR Q5.BGVB

Mapcode Global: FRA 27LQ.9HS

Entry Name: Foxton Cross

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1968

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002559

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 620

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


A wayside cross 430m south east of Nun’s Cross Ford.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 10 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 situated on the lower northern slopes of Crane Hill overlooking Foxtor Mires. The cross survives as a single dressed granite shaft of rectangular section measuring up to 1.6m high. The top is broken obliquely and on its northern face is an incised Latin cross. It is set into a mound of closely packed stones. It stands on a reave which was re-used as a boundary during the medieval period. It marks the outer edge of the newtake for Nun’s Cross Farm and may also have been used as a bound mark for the nearby tinworks. It is believed to have originally been a waymarker for the Abbot’s Way and was moved to its present location. When first described in 1900, a second incised triangular shaped stone thought to have been the cross head lay nearby but this has since disappeared.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and, because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provides direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. 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 waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. 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. Over 110 examples of wayside crosses are known on Dartmoor, where they form the commonest type of stone cross. Almost all of the wayside crosses on the Moor take the form of a `Latin' cross, in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an unenclosed cross. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval routeways, settlement patterns and the development of sculptural traditions. Despite having been damaged probably as a result of the iconoclastic backlash against such religious features during times of turbulence like the Reformation and the possibility it has been moved the wayside cross 430m south east of Nun’s Cross Ford survives comparatively well and had an important history as a boundary marker for many different reasons. As a landmark this indicates the high regard in which it has been historically held and shows the interesting re-use it has received.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume Four – The South-East , (1993), 222
PastScape Monument No:-441585

Source: Historic England

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