Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Windy Cross

A Scheduled Monument in Dunsford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6844 / 50°41'3"N

Longitude: -3.611 / 3°36'39"W

OS Eastings: 286287.9395

OS Northings: 88436.239

OS Grid: SX862884

Mapcode National: GBR QQ.W7XS

Mapcode Global: FRA 37B8.F1J

Entry Name: Windy Cross

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1954

Last Amended: 11 February 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017145

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32225

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dunsford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Dunchideock St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This wayside cross known as Windy Cross, is situated 13m north of the
crossroads also known as Windy Cross, at the southern edge of North Wood. It
is aligned NNW to SSE.
The cross survives as a simple Latin cross which is octagonal in section, and
is Listed Grade II. The shaft tapers upwards and measures 0.41m long and 0.26m
wide at the base, decreasing to 0.28m long and 0.23m wide at the head. The
arms measure 0.74m wide and the whole cross attains a height of 1.41m. An
Ordnance Survey benchmark has been inscribed on the western face of the cross,
near to its base. The cross was restored in 1952 and a joint is visible 0.25m
above the ground.

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, Windy Cross is a good example of its class, and its
location close to a crossroads reflects its original purpose as a waymarker.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX88NE2, (1996)

Source: Historic England

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