Bennett's Cross: a wayside cross on the south side of the B3212, 900m north east of the Warren House Inn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009189

Date first listed: 27-Jun-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Sep-1994


Ordnance survey map of Bennett's Cross: a wayside cross on the south side of the B3212, 900m north east of the Warren House Inn
© 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: North Bovey

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Chagford

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 68001 81622


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.

Bennetts Cross is one of the most unusually distinctive of surviving wayside crosses on moorland Dartmoor, and is easily visible from the road. Its irregular shape gives it an ancient appearance, and its use as a boundmark for both parish and rabbit warren gives it added status. The stone may be prehistoric in origin.


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


The monument includes an impressively sited and well-preserved monolithic wayside cross of coarse granite with large feldspar crystals, located about 16m south of the B3212 road between Postbridge and Moretonhampstead. The arms of the cross are aligned due north-south. The cross has a maximum height above the ground surface of 1.85m. The shaft is curiously misshapen. The lowest 0.6m is straight, but it then bends northwards about 50mm, before straightening up to the arms. The east side of the shaft bulges outwards in its middle portion. The shaft does not have defined or chamfered edges, but is roughly rectangular in section , having a maximum west-east thickness of 0.36m and a maximum north-south thickness of 0.46m. The head of the cross extends 0.24m above the arms, and tapers towards the top, where it is only 0.2m wide compared with 0.29m wide where it joins the arms. The southern arm of the cross extends a maximum of 0.1m from the shaft, and has a depth of 0.23m. The northern arm extends 0.14m, and has a depth of 0.27m. The cross was damaged in 1982, probably by lightning, and was repaired in 1983. The east face of the cross is damaged between the arms, and the west face has suffered damage on the northern arm. The latter destroyed the first downstroke of the letter `W' which is part of an inscription `WB' in letters 0.12m high with incisions approximately 15mm wide by 7mm deep. These letters probably stand for Warren Bound, as the cross was a boundmark for a rabbit warren in the 18th and 19th century. The cross is also a boundmark between the parishes of Chagford and North Bovey. The northern edge of the north arm has a crack running vertically down it. The crack is open for about 10mm. There is a vertical hairline crack about 170mm long, also on the northern edge of the north arm, and about 40mm in from the west face of the arm. Both these cracks are partially filled. The cross appears to be set in an embanked hollow about 4m in diameter and defined by scarps about 0.15m high. A possible bank on the west side is about 1.5m wide. The style of this cross, which is unlike any other recorded Dartmoor cross, combined with its remote yet conspicuous location, make it a strong candidate for being a Christianised prehistoric standing stone.

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: 24822

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Crossing, W, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor, (1902)

End of official listing