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Standing cross known as Speke's Cross, 500m north east of Eggesford House

A Scheduled Monument in Wembworthy, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8902 / 50°53'24"N

Longitude: -3.881 / 3°52'51"W

OS Eastings: 267798.312398

OS Northings: 111766.90769

OS Grid: SS677117

Mapcode National: GBR KZ.S8MX

Mapcode Global: FRA 26RR.9W1

Entry Name: Standing cross known as Speke's Cross, 500m north east of Eggesford House

Scheduled Date: 8 June 1970

Last Amended: 7 August 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016206

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30309

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Wembworthy

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Wembworthy with Eggesford

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

The monument includes a medieval standing cross known as Speke's Cross
situated 500m north east of Eggesford House. The cross is located on a
triangular island between three drives within the landscaped grounds which
originally formed part of the Eggesford Estate. It stands in a square socket
stone on a modern two-stepped pedestal.
The cross is roughly carved from a single piece of granite. One face is
flattened and smooth; this faces north west. The other faces are roughly
tooled and dressed. The cross is a simple `Latin' cross which tapers slightly
upwards and is roughly square in section. The base measures 0.45m long by 0.4m
wide; at the arms it is 0.6m wide and the cross itself is 2.6m high. The left
arm of the cross has been restored, but the right arm is chipped. The socket
stone into which the shaft is set measures 0.81m long by 0.79m wide and is
0.3m high. This socket stone is set in concrete into a two stepped plinth,
probably of late-19th or early-20th century construction. The modern base has
an inscription which is all but illegible. In total the cross and its base are
3.45m high.
This type of cross is typical of those thought to date to the 15th
century, and was likely to have been a wayside cross. It was allegedly moved
to its present location by the Portsmouth family.

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 being relocated, the standing cross known as Speke's Cross survives
comparatively well.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS61SE12, (1991)

Source: Historic England

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