Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Windy Post: a wayside cross on open moorland 1.8km north of Sampford Spiney village

A Scheduled Monument in Whitchurch, Devon

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 50.55 / 50°32'59"N

Longitude: -4.0701 / 4°4'12"W

OS Eastings: 253437.349

OS Northings: 74289.581

OS Grid: SX534742

Mapcode National: GBR NZ.GQDS

Mapcode Global: FRA 27CM.25L

Entry Name: Windy Post: a wayside cross on open moorland 1.8km north of Sampford Spiney village

Scheduled Date: 17 October 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008927

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24812

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Whitchurch

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


The monument includes a well preserved granite cross known as Windy Post or
Beckamoor Cross, conspicuously sited on a col forming the lowest moorland
crossing point between the watersheds of the Rivers Walkham and Tavy, on the
line of a medieval route leading from Tavistock eastwards across Dartmoor, and
beside two branches of the still flowing Grimstone and Sortridge leat.
The cross is formed from a single piece of moderately coarse-grained
granite. It has a considerable lean to the west though seems firmly set - the
corner of a presumed socket stone is visible. The arms of the cross are
aligned east-west. The total length of the cross is 2m. The shaft, arms
and head all have well-chamfered edges, which make the cross octagonal in
section, though discounting the chamfers the shaft is nearly square, being
approximately 0.3m by 0.29m. The chamfers are between 0.1m and 0.11m wide.
The head of the cross is rounded at the top, and extends 0.28m above the
arms, while the arms extend 0.18m beyond the shaft and are 0.29m deep. An
Ordnance Survey bench mark has been cut on the south side of the shaft - the
top of the bench mark is 0.49m above the turf. The south side of the east arm
of the cross is missing approximately 0.15m of chamfer, probably due to an old
The visible portion of the presumed socket stone, which is of granite,
measures 0.8m by 0.45m by 0.15m thick. It appears to be held up by another
stone 0.8m by 0.26m by 0.16m thick angled underneath it on the WSW side.
Another partially buried stone lies approximately 0.75m to the south. Its
visible portion measures 0.55m by 0.4m by 0.15m thick. These stones are
believed to form part of a platform on which the cross is sited.

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.

Windy Post is a well preserved medieval wayside cross. By Dartmoor
standards it has been well dressed, with chamfered edges. This suggests a
relatively late medieval date, in which case it might be a replacement of an
earlier cross. It is sited on the lowest moorland crossing point between the
watersheds of the Rivers Walkham and Tavy, and must have been on an important
medieval route. A published photographic record of the cross survives from

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Crossing, W, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor, (1902)
Crossing, W, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor, (1902), 79-80
Crossing, W, The Ancient Crosses of Dartmoor, (1887), 37-39
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 316

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.