Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross 1120m ENE of Childe's Tomb

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5192 / 50°31'9"N

Longitude: -3.9246 / 3°55'28"W

OS Eastings: 263656.459266

OS Northings: 70590.178923

OS Grid: SX636705

Mapcode National: GBR Q6.HRMD

Mapcode Global: FRA 27NP.JVL

Entry Name: Wayside cross 1120m ENE of Childe's Tomb

Scheduled Date: 27 October 1971

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002617

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 850

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Holne St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a wayside cross situated on the western slopes of Ter Hill, overlooking the valley of the River Swincombe within the upper north western corner of the Fox Tor newtake. The cross survives as a single dressed granite slab set into a roughly rectangular socket stone. The socket stone is made from a moor boulder and earthfast; the visible part measures approximately 0.9m long by 0.4m wide and 0.2m high. The Latin cross is rectangular in section, with the upper part of the shaft chamfered on two of its corners. It measures 1.7m high and 0.7m wide at the arms and the top of the head is broken. The cross is thought to mark a junction between the Abbot's Way and Sandy Way routes across Dartmoor. A second cross head once lay alongside this cross, but it has long since disappeared. The cross is known to have been re-erected, but was originally found lying beside its socket stone.
This is one of a group of three crosses on Ter Hill. Two, including this example, are scheduled separately but the third has not been formally assessed for scheduling.

Sources: DNPA HER:-SX67SW54
PastScape Monument No:-443319
Butler, J., Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Volume Four - The South-East (1993), 211

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. The wayside cross 1120m ENE of Childe's Tomb marks the junction on two important routes across the moor. It is unusual because it has been chamfered on two edges so, of its type, it would be considered rather decorative. It also forms one of a group of three on Ter Hill with further crosses surviving to the west. Wayside crosses tend to survive differentially as a result of damage by religious iconoclasts during turbulent periods of religious change throughout the Reformation. As a result many bear scars of past damage and the slightly broken head of this cross attests to a turbulent history. It is known to have been re-erected but was found fallen beside its original socket stone so the location is original.

Source: Historic England

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