Ancient Monuments

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Ouldsbroom Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Widecombe in the Moor, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5464 / 50°32'47"N

Longitude: -3.8574 / 3°51'26"W

OS Eastings: 268494.349312

OS Northings: 73499.607705

OS Grid: SX684734

Mapcode National: GBR QB.0YNK

Mapcode Global: FRA 27TM.71N

Entry Name: Ouldsbroom Cross

Scheduled Date: 3 July 1964

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003293

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 534

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Widecombe in the Moor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Leusdon St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


A wayside cross known as Ollsbrim or Ouldsbroom Cross, 320m WNW of Oldsbrim Old Barn.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 5 November 2015. The 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.

The monument includes a wayside cross known as Ollsbrim or Ouldsbroom Cross situated at a fork in the road between Dartmeet, Ollsbrim and Sherwell. The cross survives as a single piece of roughly dressed stone which measures 1.6m high tapers upwards and is roughly rectangular in section. Its arms have been largely removed and it has had holes for hanging gate posts drilled into it and backfilled with lead and iron. It dates to the 13th century. It came originally from this location, but was moved to Town Farm, Leusdon some 3km away in about 1825. It was re-erected in its present position by Newton Abbot Rural District Council in about 1957. The cross had served as one of the parole limits for prisoners held at Princetown during the Napoleonic wars. The wayside cross is Listed Grade II.

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 some damage to its arms, as a result of it having been used as a gatepost, the wayside cross known as Ollsbrim or Ouldsbroom Cross, 320m WNW of Oldsbrim Old Barn, survives comparatively well and continues to act as a waymarker beside a Dartmoor road. Crosses in particular have suffered from a somewhat turbulent history having been subject to all kinds of destructive forces during turbulent religious changes. Its survival, therefore suggests the cross was held in some esteem.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991)
PastScape Monument No:- 443061

Source: Historic England

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