Stone cross adjoining Fitz or Fice's Well
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1007021
Date first listed: 30-Aug-1922
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Devon (District Authority)
Parish: Okehampton Hamlets
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 59187 93780
Holy well known as Fitz or Fice’s Well and wayside cross 210m north east of St Michael’s Bungalow.
Reasons for Designation
Holy wells are water sources with specifically Christian associations. Sometimes having pre-Christian origins, their creation continued throughout the medieval period. Its condemnation at the time of the Reformation (c.1540) ended new foundations but local reverence and folklore customs at extant holy wells often continued, in some cases to the present. Sometimes the roofing of walled enclosures protected the water source and defined the sacred area creating a simple, small unadorned well house closely encompassing the water source. Holy wells provide important information on the nature of religious beliefs and practices and on the relationship between religion and the landscape during the medieval period.
The Holy Well known as Fice’s or Fitz Well survives comparatively well despite still being in use as a water supply for a local house and following restoration work to ensure the capping stones did not fall into the well itself.
Wayside crosses were 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. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval routeways, settlement patterns and the development of sculptural traditions.
The wayside cross at Fice’s Well is of ancient date. Despite not being in its original position, its present location beside the holy well attests to the historic importance and affection in which the cross was held during turbulent times. The restoration of the cross, although denuding it of some of its original height has been done well, whilst also serving as a protection from damage by passing traffic and from grazing animals using it as a rubbing post.
Taken together, both affirm the changing values placed on elements steeped in Christian idolatry during times of religious change, uprising and uncertainty.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 October 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a stone built holy well with an adjacent stone cross, situated on the summit of a north facing ridge forming part of East Hill, overlooking the valley of the West Okement River.
The well building is constructed from rubble built walls topped by granite slabs to form the roof. Internally, and more recently a concrete raft has been inserted to ensure stability of the slab roof. The well within this superstructure is thought to be up to 1.2m deep. West of the well stands a cross of simple design hewn from a single piece of granite. One of the arms is partially missing. The cross is 0.8m high and 0.5m wide at the arms. It has an incised cross on one face and is set into a rough stone platform. It was reputedly brought to its current site from St. Michael’s Chapel in Halstock when the latter was destroyed during the Reformation. The well is used as a water supply to a nearby house.
The well and cross are listed Grade II.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DV 23
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument Nos:- 449849 and 440852
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing