Ancient Monuments

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Hillerton Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Bow, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7687 / 50°46'7"N

Longitude: -3.8166 / 3°48'59"W

OS Eastings: 271993.579033

OS Northings: 98141.236211

OS Grid: SX719981

Mapcode National: GBR QC.YWVJ

Mapcode Global: FRA 27W1.YRN

Entry Name: Hillerton Cross

Scheduled Date: 7 February 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015461

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28621

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Bow

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Bow (or Nymet Tracey) with Broad Nymet

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a wayside cross at Hillerton Cross situated at a
crossroads between unclassified roads leading from Cheriton Bishop to Bow and
Colebrooke to Bowbeer. The cross is prominently situated at the roadside with
its pedestal incorporated into a hedge bank. It occupies a hilltop location
with commanding views over the surrounding countryside.
The cross has a modern two stepped square pedestal made from granite, which
measures 1.41m square and 0.67m high. It has a chamfered top edge and into the
upper step a square socket stone is set. This measures 1.1m across and 0.21m
high. The shaft is square at the base and measures 0.3m square. The Latin
cross is made from a single piece of granite. The cross is octagonal in
section and measures 2.3m high, 0.78m wide at the arms and 0.31m thick. The
overall height of cross and pedestal is 3.18m. It is of a type found
throughout Devon and thought to date to between the 14th and 15th centuries.
This cross is mentioned in at least two medieval documents. In the first
charter written in AD 739 it is described as a landmark in the boundary of
Cridie, whilst in the second, dating to around AD 1100 it is described as the
site of Haelre Dune in the boundary of Creedy Land.
The cross is Listed Grade II.

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.

The wayside cross known as Hillerton Cross, although not in its original
position survives well close to where it was first erected and is documented
from the eighth century onwards.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Finberg, H P R, The Early Charters of Devon and Cornwall, (1953), 8
Masson Phillips, E M, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon, Part 2, , Vol. 70, (1938), 318
Rose-Troup, F, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Crediton Charters of the Tenth Century, , Vol. 74, (1942), 247
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX79NW2, (1990)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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