Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross at Durdon Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Northlew, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.7703 / 50°46'13"N

Longitude: -4.0972 / 4°5'49"W

OS Eastings: 252213.313481

OS Northings: 98846.687313

OS Grid: SX522988

Mapcode National: GBR NY.0X03

Mapcode Global: FRA 2791.PMG

Entry Name: Wayside cross at Durdon Cross

Scheduled Date: 10 January 1973

Last Amended: 30 August 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013610

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27331

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Northlew

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Northlew St Thomas of Canterbury

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

This monument includes a wayside cross at a crossroads called Durdon Cross.
The cross was mentioned as a bound mark in a return of the boundaries of the
Chase of Okehampton belonging to Henry, Marquis of Exeter in 1532/3. The
shaft is octagonal in section and embedded into the ground. It measures 0.34m
thick at the base and the length of each octagonal side is 0.12m. The shaft
tapers slightly upwards and at a height of 0.8m there is a collar which is
0.3m wide. The shaft continues above this for a further 0.16m. At this point
the arms which measure 0.54m wide and 0.2m thick project outwards. The cross
head is 0.26m wide and 0.16m thick. The height from collar to head is 0.63m
and the ornate head is tied to the shaft by four iron bars.
The cross is Listed Grade II.
Excluded from the scheduling are the water hydrant and highway sign where
they fall within the cross's protective margin, however the ground beneath
them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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
pilgrimages.
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.

Despite restoration, the wayside cross at Durdon Cross survives comparatively
well and is likely to be on or close to its original position. The cross is
of ornate construction and is recorded in the early part of the 16th century
as a boundary marker.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 333
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX59NW-036, (1983)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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