Ancient Monuments

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North Bovey village cross: a wayside cross at the south west end of North Bovey village green

A Scheduled Monument in North Bovey, Devon

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Latitude: 50.641 / 50°38'27"N

Longitude: -3.7833 / 3°47'0"W

OS Eastings: 273995.757

OS Northings: 83884.588

OS Grid: SX739838

Mapcode National: GBR QF.DZSG

Mapcode Global: FRA 27YC.ZVC

Entry Name: North Bovey village cross: a wayside cross at the south west end of North Bovey village green

Scheduled Date: 15 February 1955

Last Amended: 22 September 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009179

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24830

County: Devon

Civil Parish: North Bovey

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: North Bovey St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes the well preserved head, arms and substantial portion of
the shaft of a medieval wayside cross formed from a single piece of relatively
fine-grained granite. It is cemented onto a small rectangular block of
granite which has been placed over an ancient octagonal socket stone. The
whole monument, which is a Listed Grade II, is situated at the south west end
of North Bovey village green.
The arms of the cross are aligned more or less north-south. The height of
the ancient portion of the cross (shaft, head and arms) is 1.27m. The shaft is
approximately rectangular in section having maximum dimensions of 0.4m by
0.25m. Some stone has been broken off the bottom of the north face of the
shaft, and also the bottom of the south face where a crack is poorly filled
with cement. Otherwise the cross is in good condition.
The width across the arms is 0.65m. Both arms extend 0.12m from the shaft
and have a depth of 0.24m. The head extends 0.14m above the arms, and it is
0.34m wide where it joins the arms.
The shaft is cemented onto a modern block of very coarse granite measuring
0.5m by 0.31m by 0.25m deep. This in turn is cemented across the socket of
an ancient socket stone of relatively fine-grained granite. The socket stone
is square, measuring 0.9m by 0.9m by 0.22m depth, but its top corners have
been cut away for about 100mm to create an octagonal top surface to the stone
(the south east corner is broken off). The socket stone has a bevelled edge
on its south side, and a possible bevel on the north. On the west and north
sides of the upper surface of the socket stone there are holes partially
filled with iron, and another possible hole on the south side.
The socket hole itself measures 0.4m by 0.38m, and apparently has rounded
corners. It has been filled with cement where it extends beyond the base of
the modern rectangular block set across it.
Some restoration was carried out in 1829.

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

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 ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious
function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners
and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on
Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west
England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type
of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively
few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to
remote moorland locations.
Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross,
in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an
unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and
decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces
of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or
incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was
sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear
decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the
`Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both
faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the
North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed
base or show no evidence for a separate base at all.
Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval
religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval
routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth-
fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from
their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

North Bovey village cross, although incomplete, has a conspicuous position on
the village green, and is an important example of a large medieval wayside
cross of a type apparently once quite widespread on eastern Dartmoor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Crossing, W, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor, (1902), 153

Source: Historic England

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