Wayside cross 75m south east of Cross Gate


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009095

Date first listed: 06-Jan-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Oct-2000


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross 75m south east of Cross Gate
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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: Walkhampton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 56210 69472


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

Reasons for Designation

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone, mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD). Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the scenes of games or recreational activity. Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the 13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base, buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their original location, are considered worthy of protection.

Despite limited damage, the wayside cross 75m south east of Cross Gate survives comparatively well, with the socket stone, head and arms all being original. This cross remains in its original position alongside the track leading between Buckfast and Tavistock Abbeys.


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


This monument includes a wayside cross situated 20m south of a long established track leading between Buckfast and Tavistock Abbeys, and lies on a south-facing slope overlooking Burrator Reservoir. The monument survives as the head of a Latin cross mounted on a modern tapered and octagonal shaft set up in the original roughly rectangular socket stone. The medieval cross head is considered to be of a 14th century type and the two arms are chamfered on the lower and upper sides. The cross head above the arms has been broken off and lost. The modern shaft measures 1.8m high, the socket stone is 1.52m long by 1.22m wide and partly underlies a broken down post-medieval drystone wall. This cross was restored in 1914. The post-medieval drystone wall and the tumble associated with it, are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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: 24131

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hemery, E, Walking Dartmoor's ancient tracks, (1986), 154
Breton, H H, 'Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries' in Cross at Walkhampton, , Vol. 14, (1927), 74
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE176, (1983)
National Archaeological Record, SX56NE9,

End of official listing