Ancient Monuments

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Cholwich Town Cross: a wayside cross between Quick Bridge and Tolchmoor Gate

A Scheduled Monument in Cornwood, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4334 / 50°26'0"N

Longitude: -3.9921 / 3°59'31"W

OS Eastings: 258618.510001

OS Northings: 61177.997001

OS Grid: SX586611

Mapcode National: GBR Q4.90CT

Mapcode Global: FRA 27JX.2LH

Entry Name: Cholwich Town Cross: a wayside cross between Quick Bridge and Tolchmoor Gate

Scheduled Date: 23 August 1974

Last Amended: 26 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008931

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24816

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Cornwood

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


The monument includes the shaft, head and arms of a wayside cross of
moderately coarse granite and rough rectangular section, set vertically on a
small modern turf mound about 4m inside a fence on the south side of a public
road, opposite the former entrance to Cholwich Town Farm. The cross is not in
situ having been moved from the other side of the road where it was in use as
a gatepost. There is no sign of a socket stone. The arms of the cross have the
form of slight swellings, and although almost certainly damaged, they may
never have been intended to be much more substantial.
The total height of the cross is 1.76m. The shaft tapers from the base up to
the arms. Close to the base it measures 0.36m by 0.43m. Under the arms it
measures 0.28m by 0.32m. The corners of the shaft maybe crudely chamfered, but
this is doubtful. If so, it suggests that the cross may be unfinished.
The maximum width across the arms is 0.37m. The west arm extends only 0.02m
from the shaft and has a depth of 0.3m. The east arm extends 0.05m and has a
maximum depth of 0.35m.
The head, which is roughly square in section, 0.28m by 0.29m, extends above
the arms 0.23m. The top of the head of the cross has a deep crack running
north south across its centre and extending down the south face of the cross
for 0.12m as far as a hole plugged with lead and containing an iron gate
The cross is Listed Grade II. A fragment of window mullion, octagonal and
neatly dressed has been set on edge in the turf 0.4m west of the cross.

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.

Cholwich Town Cross may be an example of a medieval wayside cross that was
never finished, but it is also possible that its relatively crude finish and
undeveloped arms were original features. Its original location is unknown, but
it is unlikely to have been far from the gateway where it was first recorded
across the road from where it now stands. This gateway provided access to the
enclosed land of Cholwich Town Farm, one of the earliest documented
settlements on this side of Dartmoor, dating back at least to the 12th
century, and with which the cross may be associated.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Crossing, W, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor, (1902), 36
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 302-303

Source: Historic England

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