Lower Elsford cross: a wayside cross opposite the entrance to Lower Elsford Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009183

Date first listed: 04-May-1995


Ordnance survey map of Lower Elsford cross: a wayside cross opposite the entrance to Lower Elsford Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. 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: Teignbridge (District Authority)

Parish: Bovey Tracey

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 79229 82913


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

Reasons for Designation

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 ordinary settlements or on routes having 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 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to remote moorland locations. Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross, in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the `Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed base or show no evidence for a separate base at all. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth- fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

Lower Elsford cross consists only of the head and arms of what was once, or what was intended to be, a massive medieval wayside cross. It is an indicator of the size of crosses that once existed in this area.


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


The monument includes the arms and head of a massive but crudely worked medieval wayside cross of coarse-grained granite, built into the base of a hedge on the north side of a minor road, immediately opposite the entrance to Lower Elsford Farm. The cross is set at a slight angle into the hedge, so that the arms are aligned north west/south east. The visible height of the cross is 0.6m. The width across the arms is 0.8m. The north west arm is broken off and cracked, but its top surface is flat and joins the head of the cross with a neat right angle. From the head it extends about 0.2m. Below the arms it extends 0.12m from the main shaft of the cross. The depth of this arm is 0.2m. The south east arm looks unfinished. It extends 0.17m from the head of the cross, and has a depth of 0.34m. The underside of the arm is flush with the ground. Against the arms, on the south west face, the head of the cross is 0.44m wide. The head extends above the arms about 0.25m. The thickness of the cross seems relatively slight, approximately 0.16m-0.2m. The whole appearance of the cross is crude and it may be that it is an unfinished specimen that went wrong in its manufacture. On the opposite side of the road, at the west corner of the entrance to Lower Elsford is an upright block of coarse granite, roughly rectangular in shape. This has no particular distinguishing feature, but could have been part of a cross shaft. This does not form part of 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: 24835

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing