Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross known as Eastacott Cross or the Stonen Hammer

A Scheduled Monument in Chittlehampton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.9953 / 50°59'43"N

Longitude: -3.9639 / 3°57'49"W

OS Eastings: 262279.245

OS Northings: 123603.272

OS Grid: SS622236

Mapcode National: GBR KV.KRMT

Mapcode Global: FRA 26LH.1KZ

Entry Name: Wayside cross known as Eastacott Cross or the Stonen Hammer

Scheduled Date: 3 February 1953

Last Amended: 20 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013727

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27328

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Chittlehampton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Chittlehampton with Umberleigh

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a wayside cross situated on a verge at a road junction
between two unclassified roads to Brightley Barton and Eastacott. It is known
as Eastacott Cross or the Stonen Hammer. The cross is thought to have been
moved to its present location from Brightley Cross. The cross is made of
granite, and appears to have no base. It is a tall cross, octagonal in section
and tapering upwards. It has straight arms and a slightly tapering head. It is
0.42m thick at the base tapering to 0.31m thick below the arms. The arms are
0.77m wide and 0.2m thick. The head is 0.22m wide and the cross is 2.18m
high. The cross is leaning slightly, due to its base being within the decaying
root system of a beech tree, now felled at ground level.
The cross is Listed Grade II.
The metalled road surface is excluded from the scheduling where it falls
within the cross's protective margin, although the ground beneath it is

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

Eastacott Cross (or Stonen Hammer) is a good example of its class.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Masson Phillips, E M, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon, Part 2, , Vol. 70, (1938), 311
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS62SW-005, (1983)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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