Hospit Cross: a wayside cross at Bovey Cross, 900m NNE of North Bovey village


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009193

Date first listed: 22-Feb-1955

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Jul-1995


Ordnance survey map of Hospit Cross: a wayside cross at Bovey Cross, 900m NNE of North Bovey village
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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

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 74326 84725


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.

Hospit Cross consists of the upper portion of a massive medieval wayside cross, and still forms a striking feature at a crossroads. The cross is also of interest for having been used as a routemarker, with direction letters carved on it.


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


The monument, which is known variously as Stumpy Cross and Horspit Cross, includes the head, arms and upper portion of the shaft of an impressively large medieval wayside cross of moderately coarse granite. The cross, which is a Listed Building Grade II, is situated on the verge of a crossroads known as Bovey Cross, on the northern side of the road leading towards Bughead Cross. It is 1m from the road edge to the south west, 2.5m from the road edge to the south east, and 2m from a stone wall to the north east. The visible height of the surviving cross is 1.04m. The shaft is neatly rectangular in section, measuring 0.42m by 0.25m. The arms, which are aligned nearly north east-south west, are very stumpy, but probably original. The maximum width across the arms is 0.59m. The south western arm extends only 0.1m from the shaft, and has a depth of 0.34m. The north eastern arm extends only 0.09m, and has a depth of 0.32m. The head extends above the arms a maximum of 0.185m. Where the head joins the arms it is 0.38m wide. The top of the head is uneven, probably due to differential weathering of feldspar crystals and to the corrosive effect of a metal pin (now missing) of an Ordnance Survey bench mark, which is in the form of a broad arrow cut at the very top of the south east face of the cross. On the north west face, between the arms, is an incised letter O (for Okehampton), 0.12m in diameter. The cut is 20mm wide and 5mm deep. On the south east face is an incised letter N (for Newton), 0.16m high by 0.125m wide. Its cut is also 20mm wide and 5mm deep. At the end of the north eastern arm of the cross is an incised letter M (for Moreton), 0.13m high and 0.14m wide. The cut is 15mm wide and 5mm deep. There is no legible lettering on the south western arm, though the letter B (for Bovey) has been reported in the past.

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: 24826

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Crossing, W, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor, (1902), 152

End of official listing