Shaugh Prior village cross: a wayside cross at the road junction 150m east of the parish church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009187

Date first listed: 19-Oct-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Sep-1994


Ordnance survey map of Shaugh Prior village cross: a wayside cross at the road junction 150m east of the parish church
© 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: Shaugh Prior

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 54437 63079

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.

Shaugh Prior village cross is an impressive and well-preserved medieval wayside cross, having suffered relatively little damage.


The monument includes a well-preserved wayside cross formed from a single piece of moderately coarse-grained granite, set into a granite socket stone. Both cross and socket stone are set into the west face of a hedge between a junction of minor roads and the entrance to the former vicarage (called Crossgates on the Ordnance Survey 1:10,000 map), about 150m east of the parish church. Most of the east face of the cross is not visible, being set against the hedge. The west face of the cross is more or less flush with the hedge. The visible portion of the cross is 1.7m high. The shaft is rectangular in section measuring 0.33m by 0.25m, though it tapers slightly to 0.31m under the arms. The edges of the shaft, arms and head all have chamfers about 50mm wide. There are crude `stops' under the arms. The head, which has a flat top, extends 0.17m above the arms. The arms of the cross, which are aligned more or less north-south, have a total width of 0.65m. The southern arm extends 0.175m from the shaft and is 0.27m deep. The northern arm extends 0.16m and is 0.25m deep. An irregular portion, approximately 0.14m by 0.13m, has been broken off the underside of the southern arm. An iron clamp which formerly bound the west face of the southern arm to the west face of the shaft has been removed, but a slot is still visible and the end holes have been plugged with cement. A metal clamp has been used in repair on the eastern side of the shaft. The southern arm and part of the head of the cross have been broken off in the past and have been repaired with an iron clamp across the top of the head of the cross, fixed with lead and cement. The socket stone is of similar granite to the cross. Its visible portion measures 1.06m by 0.43m by 0.26m deep. The stone protrudes from the hedgebank into the roadway about 0.4m. The underside of the socket stone, which rests on a composite stone platform, is about 0.7m above the road surface.

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: 24820

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing