Ancient Monuments

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Hospit Cross: a wayside cross at Bovey Cross, 900m NNE of North Bovey village

A Scheduled Monument in Moretonhampstead, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6486 / 50°38'55"N

Longitude: -3.779 / 3°46'44"W

OS Eastings: 274325.835093

OS Northings: 84725.470115

OS Grid: SX743847

Mapcode National: GBR QG.LDY7

Mapcode Global: FRA 27ZC.7M3

Entry Name: Hospit Cross: a wayside cross at Bovey Cross, 900m NNE of North Bovey village

Scheduled Date: 22 February 1955

Last Amended: 20 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009193

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24826

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Moretonhampstead

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, which is known variously as Stumpy Cross and Horspit Cross,
includes the head, arms and upper portion of the shaft of an impressively
large medieval wayside cross of moderately coarse granite. The cross, which is
a Listed Building Grade II, is situated on the verge of a crossroads known as
Bovey Cross, on the northern side of the road leading towards Bughead Cross.
It is 1m from the road edge to the south west, 2.5m from the road edge to the
south east, and 2m from a stone wall to the north east.
The visible height of the surviving cross is 1.04m. The shaft is neatly
rectangular in section, measuring 0.42m by 0.25m.
The arms, which are aligned nearly north east-south west, are very stumpy,
but probably original. The maximum width across the arms is 0.59m. The south
western arm extends only 0.1m from the shaft, and has a depth of 0.34m. The
north eastern arm extends only 0.09m, and has a depth of 0.32m.
The head extends above the arms a maximum of 0.185m. Where the head joins
the arms it is 0.38m wide. The top of the head is uneven, probably due to
differential weathering of feldspar crystals and to the corrosive effect of a
metal pin (now missing) of an Ordnance Survey bench mark, which is in the form
of a broad arrow cut at the very top of the south east face of the cross.
On the north west face, between the arms, is an incised letter O (for
Okehampton), 0.12m in diameter. The cut is 20mm wide and 5mm deep. On the
south east face is an incised letter N (for Newton), 0.16m high by 0.125m
wide. Its cut is also 20mm wide and 5mm deep.
At the end of the north eastern arm of the cross is an incised letter M (for
Moreton), 0.13m high and 0.14m wide. The cut is 15mm wide and 5mm deep. There
is no legible lettering on the south western arm, though the letter B (for
Bovey) has been reported in the past.

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.

Hospit Cross consists of the upper portion of a massive medieval wayside
cross, and still forms a striking feature at a crossroads. The cross is also
of interest for having been used as a routemarker, with direction letters
carved on it.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Crossing, W, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor, (1902), 152

Source: Historic England

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