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Green Lane Cross: a wayside cross at the north west end of Whitchurch Down

A Scheduled Monument in Whitchurch, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5452 / 50°32'42"N

Longitude: -4.1284 / 4°7'42"W

OS Eastings: 249295.332103

OS Northings: 73872.491217

OS Grid: SX492738

Mapcode National: GBR NX.H1F6

Mapcode Global: FRA 277M.HG9

Entry Name: Green Lane Cross: a wayside cross at the north west end of Whitchurch Down

Scheduled Date: 22 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008925

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24810

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Whitchurch

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Details

The monument includes the complete arms and head of an old granite cross
cemented onto a modern granite shaft, which itself is cemented into an old
granite socket stone. The cross is sited 3.7m from the edge of the tarmac
road. The stone is coarse-grained granite.
The arms of the cross are orientated approximately north west-south east.
Their total width is 0.64m. The head extends 0.3m above the arms, giving a
total height of the surviving head and arms of 0.57m. A very weathered incised
cross is visible on the south west face, between the arms, measuring 0.2m
horizontally by 0.16m vertically. The cut itself is 0.02m wide by 0.003m deep.
An incised cross on the north east face, reported in 1937 is doubtful.
The modern shaft is crudely cut with drill marks on its south east face. It
is of rectangular section measuring 0.33m wide by 0.23m thick. The socket
stone is split and has visible dimensions of 1.08m by 0.85m. The cross was
restored in 1934. The total height of the restored feature is 1.22m.
This may well be the cross referred to in a deed of 1310 as `the old cross',
and is one of a line of crosses forming a major medieval route out of
Tavistock eastwards across Dartmoor. The hollow way of an old track can be
traced eastwards from the cross, on the north side of the modern road - this
may represent the original medieval routeway.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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.
All wayside crosses on the Moor which survive as earth-fast monuments, except
those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations,
are considered worthy of protection.

Green Lane Cross, although incomplete, is of significance on account of
its position at the western end of medieval routes crossing Dartmoor to and
from Tavistock, where there was a Benedictine abbey. It is closely linked
with other crosses, and is a likely candidate for a cross referred to as `old'
in 1310.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Harris, H (ed), Whitchurch Down, (1990), 11-12
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 316
Other
SX47SE062,

Source: Historic England

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