Green Lane Cross: a wayside cross at the north west end of Whitchurch Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008925

Date first listed: 22-Sep-1994


Ordnance survey map of Green Lane Cross: a wayside cross at the north west end of Whitchurch Down
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Whitchurch

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 49295 73872


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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.

Green Lane Cross, although incomplete, is of significance on account of its position at the western end of medieval routes crossing Dartmoor to and from Tavistock, where there was a Benedictine abbey. It is closely linked with other crosses, and is a likely candidate for a cross referred to as `old' in 1310.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the complete arms and head of an old granite cross cemented onto a modern granite shaft, which itself is cemented into an old granite socket stone. The cross is sited 3.7m from the edge of the tarmac road. The stone is coarse-grained granite. The arms of the cross are orientated approximately north west-south east. Their total width is 0.64m. The head extends 0.3m above the arms, giving a total height of the surviving head and arms of 0.57m. A very weathered incised cross is visible on the south west face, between the arms, measuring 0.2m horizontally by 0.16m vertically. The cut itself is 0.02m wide by 0.003m deep. An incised cross on the north east face, reported in 1937 is doubtful. The modern shaft is crudely cut with drill marks on its south east face. It is of rectangular section measuring 0.33m wide by 0.23m thick. The socket stone is split and has visible dimensions of 1.08m by 0.85m. The cross was restored in 1934. The total height of the restored feature is 1.22m. This may well be the cross referred to in a deed of 1310 as `the old cross', and is one of a line of crosses forming a major medieval route out of Tavistock eastwards across Dartmoor. The hollow way of an old track can be traced eastwards from the cross, on the north side of the modern road - this may represent the original medieval routeway.

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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 24810

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Harris, H (ed), Whitchurch Down, (1990), 11-12
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 316

End of official listing