Ancient Monuments

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Hawson Cross

A Scheduled Monument in West Buckfastleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.499 / 50°29'56"N

Longitude: -3.8195 / 3°49'10"W

OS Eastings: 271054.4

OS Northings: 68163.173

OS Grid: SX710681

Mapcode National: GBR QD.HVZW

Mapcode Global: FRA 27WR.3S6

Entry Name: Hawson Cross

Scheduled Date: 12 June 1972

Last Amended: 15 July 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021102

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34446

County: Devon

Civil Parish: West Buckfastleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Buckfastleigh

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a wayside cross situated on a ridge between the Holy
Brook and River Mardle. The cross stands on a triangular-shaped road
island adjacent to an old tree known as Stumpy Oak. This cross is one of
several that denote a route known as the Monks' Path, which linked the
medieval abbeys of Buckfast, Tavistock and Buckland. Other crosses along
this route are the subject of separate schedulings. The cross includes a
socket stone, a mostly modern shaft and a short length of original shaft
together with the head and arms. The socket stone now lies largely buried
below the turf and supports a 2.18m high Latin cross. The modern shaft
measures 0.36m by 0.34m at the base and 0.28m by 0.29m at the top. The
arms of the cross measure 0.8m wide and the head is 0.27m high. The cross
was restored by the Dartmoor Preservation Association in 1952. The cross
is Listed Grade II.

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

Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and,
because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most
complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The
great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provides direct evidence
for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards.
The well preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites,
land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later
industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes in the
pattern of land use through time.
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 settlements, or on routes which might have 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 110 examples of wayside crosses are known on Dartmoor, where they form
the commonest type of stone cross. Almost all of the wayside crosses on the
Moor take the form of a `Latin' cross, in which the cross-head itself is
shaped within the projecting arms of an unenclosed cross.
Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval
routeways, settlement patterns and the development of sculptural traditions.
All wayside crosses on the Moor which survive as earth-fast monuments, except
those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations,
are considered worthy of protection.

Despite historic damage, the wayside cross known as Hawson Cross survives
comparatively well and together with a number of other crosses denotes the
route of a medieval track leading across the moor between Tavistock and
Buckfast Abbeys.

Source: Historic England


Websites, accessed from

Source: Historic England

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