Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross 75m south east of Cross Gate

A Scheduled Monument in Meavy, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5073 / 50°30'26"N

Longitude: -4.0291 / 4°1'44"W

OS Eastings: 256209.76937

OS Northings: 69471.866585

OS Grid: SX562694

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.RGVR

Mapcode Global: FRA 27GQ.65B

Entry Name: Wayside cross 75m south east of Cross Gate

Scheduled Date: 6 January 1972

Last Amended: 6 October 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009095

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24131

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Meavy

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes a wayside cross situated 20m south of a long
established track leading between Buckfast and Tavistock Abbeys, and lies on a
south-facing slope overlooking Burrator Reservoir. The monument survives as
the head of a Latin cross mounted on a modern tapered and octagonal shaft set
up in the original roughly rectangular socket stone. The medieval cross head
is considered to be of a 14th century type and the two arms are chamfered on
the lower and upper sides. The cross head above the arms has been broken off
and lost. The modern shaft measures 1.8m high, the socket stone is 1.52m long
by 1.22m wide and partly underlies a broken down post-medieval drystone wall.
This cross was restored in 1914.
The post-medieval drystone wall and the tumble associated with it, are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone,
mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD).
Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as
stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm
Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for
preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of
sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between
parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate
battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and
protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market
places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some
crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for
example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the
scenes of games or recreational activity.
Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have
numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation
has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and
religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by
iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval
standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The
oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft
often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the
stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a
flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th
centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may
take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more
elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped
crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding
stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the
most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the
stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also
uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the
13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and
cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base,
buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and
head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our
understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our
knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which
survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their
original location, are considered worthy of protection.

Despite limited damage, the wayside cross 75m south east of Cross Gate
survives comparatively well, with the socket stone, head and arms all being
original. This cross remains in its original position alongside the track
leading between Buckfast and Tavistock Abbeys.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hemery, E, Walking Dartmoor's ancient tracks, (1986), 154
Breton, H H, 'Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries' in Cross at Walkhampton, , Vol. 14, (1927), 74
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE176, (1983)
National Archaeological Record, SX56NE9,

Source: Historic England

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