Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Wayside cross at Eastcombe on the road between Durdon Cross and Eastcombe

A Scheduled Monument in Northlew, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7733 / 50°46'23"N

Longitude: -4.1156 / 4°6'56"W

OS Eastings: 250921.425265

OS Northings: 99215.888349

OS Grid: SX509992

Mapcode National: GBR NX.0QNZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 2781.GFR

Entry Name: Wayside cross at Eastcombe on the road between Durdon Cross and Eastcombe

Scheduled Date: 26 October 1971

Last Amended: 30 August 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013611

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27332

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


This monument includes a wayside cross at Eastcombe built into the hedgebank
of a private house called Greenacre, on the road between Durdon Cross and
Eastcombe. The cross survives as a 1.33m high shaft with head and arms and is
rectangular in section with chamfered angles. The shaft tapers slightly
upwards and its arms are not chamfered. The cross has been broken off near its
base and repaired with iron clamps. The shaft measures 0.26m square at the
base and tapers to 0.23m square just below the arms. The arms are 0.4m wide
and the head is 0.23m wide.

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.

Despite restoration, the wayside cross at Eastcombe on the road between Durdon
Cross and Eastcombe survives comparatively well and may stand in its original

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 333
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX59NW-034, (1981)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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