Ancient Monuments

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Linscott Cross: a wayside cross on the north side of a minor road 280m north west of Howton Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Moretonhampstead, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6708 / 50°40'14"N

Longitude: -3.783 / 3°46'58"W

OS Eastings: 274097.329274

OS Northings: 87195.509382

OS Grid: SX740871

Mapcode National: GBR QF.C5VY

Mapcode Global: FRA 27Z9.D0V

Entry Name: Linscott Cross: a wayside cross on the north side of a minor road 280m north west of Howton Farm

Scheduled Date: 28 February 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009190

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24823

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Moretonhampstead

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Moretonhampstead St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes the impressive shaft of a large medieval wayside cross
formed from a single piece of stone of coarse granite with large feldspar
crystals. It is set on a piece of rough ground, well above the surface of a
minor road, and set back about 4m from the road edge. The arms of the cross
are aligned north west-south east, though the north west arm is missing and
only a portion of the south east arm survives. The head of the cross is also
broken off. The cross, which is a Listed Building Grade II, was previously in
use as a gatepost and was moved to its present position in about 1900. No
socket stone is visible. The cross is now 1.5m high. The shaft is neatly
rectangular in section, measuring 0.42m by 0.24m. The south eastern arm, which
is broken off, extends 80mm from the shaft, and has a depth of about 0.3m. The
head survives for a maximum of only about 80mm above the arms.
There is a complete incised cross between the arms of the south western
face, and remnants of one on the north eastern face. That on the south west
face measures 300mm vertically by 195mm horizontally, with a cut 30mm wide and
having a maximum depth of 10mm. The vertical line of the incised cross on the
north eastern face has been destroyed by the cutting of a slot, but the
horizontal line survives either side of the slot, giving an original total
width of 200mm. The cut is 30mm wide and has a maximum depth of about 7mm.
Three vertical slots, a round hole and a half slot are all visible in the
centre of the north east face of the shaft. The slots may have been for an
early form of gatehanging but are rather narrow, and may have been intended to
split the shaft in two.
From the central slot a horizontal crack extends north westwards to the edge
of the shaft, and vertical cracks link the lower and middle and upper slots.
On the north west face of the shaft, 0.56m below the top, there is an iron
plug, which has caused some damage. Several cracks radiate out from this
point. On the same face, there is a round hole near the base of the shaft,
30mm in diameter and 65mm deep.

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.

Linscott Cross is a fine example of a medieval wayside cross, exhibiting
interesting evidence of use as a gatepost and/or attempts to split the shaft
in more recent times. There is a good photographic record of the cross from
about 1900 when it was still in use as a gatepost. It is well-positioned
above the roadside and forms a striking feature.

Source: Historic England


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

Source: Historic England

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