Blackaton Cross: a wayside cross 1.25km north of Lee Moor Village


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Blackaton Cross: a wayside cross 1.25km north of Lee Moor Village
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Hams (District Authority)
Shaugh Prior
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SX 57047 63106

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.

Blackaton Cross is impressively sited beside an ancient route across the south western side of Dartmoor. It is likely to be in or near its original position. The head and arms of the cross, and the socket stone, are original. The shaft (originally cut for a window sill) was added in the second half of the 19th century. A published photographic record of the cross survives from c.1900.


The monument, which is also known as Roman's Cross, includes a restored wayside cross of moderately coarse granite, set in a circular granite socket stone on a turf bank on the east side of the road between Lee Moor House (now destroyed) and Cadover Bridge. This road was a major medieval route across the south western fringe of Dartmoor. The cross has a total height above the socket stone of 1.79m. It leans very slightly to the east.

The head and arms of the cross, which have a total height of 0.515m, are ancient, as is the socket stone, but the shaft was added in the restoration of the monument, and is probably a window sill in origin, but may have been used as a gatepost at some time.

The arms of the cross are aligned roughly north-south. Their total width is 0.62m. The southern arm is complete and has a regular rectangular section. It extends 0.2m beyond the shaft and has a depth of 0.3m. The northern arm is rounded. This is probably due to damage, but may be an original feature. It extends 0.15m from the shaft and has a depth of 0.29m. The head extends above the arms 0.19m, and is of rectangular section measuring 0.285m north- south by 0.205m west-east. No cement is visible where the head and arms meet the shaft, and presumably a steel/iron rod has been used to join them.

The shaft, which is cemented into the socket stone (two iron wedges are also visible), is rectangular in section measuring 0.32m by 0.22m, and has a height of 1.31m. It has a chamfer 0.08m wide on its north western edge, with a possible stop at the bottom, suggesting a window sill. The east face of the shaft is very rough. The south face of the shaft has three small irregular hollows of which the highest is partially plugged with cement.

The socket stone has a visible diameter of 1.03m and a maximum depth of 0.3m. Its top surface slopes to the east. There is an old Ordnance Survey benchmark with a metal pin, cut on the edge of the socket stone 0.33m north west of the north west corner of the shaft. There is a small hole 0.07m in diameter by 0.02m deep in the top surface of the socket stone approximately 0.13m south of the south west corner of the shaft.

The base of the shaft is 0.5m above present road level, and the west edge of the socket stone is 0.4m from the road edge. Blackaton Cross is Listed Grade II. Immediately to the south of the cross there is a separate boulder partially buried in the turf bank. This is included in the scheduling.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Crossing, W, The Ancient Crosses of Dartmoor, (1887), 19-22
Crossing, W, The Ancient Crosses of Dartmoor, (1887)
Crossing, W, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor, (1902), 37-39
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 305-306


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

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