Cholwich Town Cross: a wayside cross between Quick Bridge and Tolchmoor Gate


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008931

Date first listed: 23-Aug-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 26-Aug-1994


Ordnance survey map of Cholwich Town Cross: a wayside cross between Quick Bridge and Tolchmoor Gate
© 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.

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Cornwood

National Grid Reference: SX 58619 61178


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.

Cholwich Town Cross may be an example of a medieval wayside cross that was never finished, but it is also possible that its relatively crude finish and undeveloped arms were original features. Its original location is unknown, but it is unlikely to have been far from the gateway where it was first recorded across the road from where it now stands. This gateway provided access to the enclosed land of Cholwich Town Farm, one of the earliest documented settlements on this side of Dartmoor, dating back at least to the 12th century, and with which the cross may be associated.


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


The monument includes the shaft, head and arms of a wayside cross of moderately coarse granite and rough rectangular section, set vertically on a small modern turf mound about 4m inside a fence on the south side of a public road, opposite the former entrance to Cholwich Town Farm. The cross is not in situ having been moved from the other side of the road where it was in use as a gatepost. There is no sign of a socket stone. The arms of the cross have the form of slight swellings, and although almost certainly damaged, they may never have been intended to be much more substantial. The total height of the cross is 1.76m. The shaft tapers from the base up to the arms. Close to the base it measures 0.36m by 0.43m. Under the arms it measures 0.28m by 0.32m. The corners of the shaft maybe crudely chamfered, but this is doubtful. If so, it suggests that the cross may be unfinished. The maximum width across the arms is 0.37m. The west arm extends only 0.02m from the shaft and has a depth of 0.3m. The east arm extends 0.05m and has a maximum depth of 0.35m. The head, which is roughly square in section, 0.28m by 0.29m, extends above the arms 0.23m. The top of the head of the cross has a deep crack running north south across its centre and extending down the south face of the cross for 0.12m as far as a hole plugged with lead and containing an iron gate hanging. The cross is Listed Grade II. A fragment of window mullion, octagonal and neatly dressed has been set on edge in the turf 0.4m west of the cross.

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: 24816

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Crossing, W, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor, (1902), 36
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 302-303

End of official listing