Linscott Cross: a wayside cross on the north side of a minor road 280m north west of Howton Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009190

Date first listed: 28-Feb-1995


Ordnance survey map of Linscott Cross: a wayside cross on the north side of a minor road 280m north west of Howton Farm
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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: Moretonhampstead

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 74097 87196


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.

Linscott Cross is a fine example of a medieval wayside cross, exhibiting interesting evidence of use as a gatepost and/or attempts to split the shaft in more recent times. There is a good photographic record of the cross from about 1900 when it was still in use as a gatepost. It is well-positioned above the roadside and forms a striking feature.


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


The monument includes the impressive shaft of a large medieval wayside cross formed from a single piece of stone of coarse granite with large feldspar crystals. It is set on a piece of rough ground, well above the surface of a minor road, and set back about 4m from the road edge. The arms of the cross are aligned north west-south east, though the north west arm is missing and only a portion of the south east arm survives. The head of the cross is also broken off. The cross, which is a Listed Building Grade II, was previously in use as a gatepost and was moved to its present position in about 1900. No socket stone is visible. The cross is now 1.5m high. The shaft is neatly rectangular in section, measuring 0.42m by 0.24m. The south eastern arm, which is broken off, extends 80mm from the shaft, and has a depth of about 0.3m. The head survives for a maximum of only about 80mm above the arms. There is a complete incised cross between the arms of the south western face, and remnants of one on the north eastern face. That on the south west face measures 300mm vertically by 195mm horizontally, with a cut 30mm wide and having a maximum depth of 10mm. The vertical line of the incised cross on the north eastern face has been destroyed by the cutting of a slot, but the horizontal line survives either side of the slot, giving an original total width of 200mm. The cut is 30mm wide and has a maximum depth of about 7mm. Three vertical slots, a round hole and a half slot are all visible in the centre of the north east face of the shaft. The slots may have been for an early form of gatehanging but are rather narrow, and may have been intended to split the shaft in two. From the central slot a horizontal crack extends north westwards to the edge of the shaft, and vertical cracks link the lower and middle and upper slots. On the north west face of the shaft, 0.56m below the top, there is an iron plug, which has caused some damage. Several cracks radiate out from this point. On the same face, there is a round hole near the base of the shaft, 30mm in diameter and 65mm deep.

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: 24823

Legacy System: RSM


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

End of official listing