Wayside cross in the garden hedge of Southcott Cottage, at a crossroads called Southcott Cross
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 26-May-2019 at 04:44:49.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- West Devon (District Authority)
- Okehampton Hamlets
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 54997 94836
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
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.
The wayside cross in the garden hedge of Southcott Cottage survives well and is likely to be in its original position. Its importance is enhanced by the unusual feature of the incised decoration of a crucified figure on one face, and of the Virgin Mary (or a monk in prayer), on the opposite face.
This monument includes a wayside cross built into the hedge of Southcott
Cottage and is situated at a crossroads called Southcott Cross. It is a tall
granite cross of octagonal section which tapers slightly upwards. The shaft
measures 0.4m square at the base, 0.35m square under the arms and 0.72m wide
at the arms. The head is 0.3m wide and 0.43m high; the arms are 0.26m thick
and the cross is 1.78m high. The cross is rare in Devon in having an incised
crude representation of a crucified figure on the western face between the
arms. The figure is 0.35m high, 0.38m wide at the arms and 0.07m wide across
the feet. On the eastern face of the cross is a second figure, thought to
represent either a monk in prayer or the figure of the Virgin Mary with hands
clasped. It is of similar size to the first figure. A drill hole has been cut
at some time into the right hand arm of the cross.
Excluded from the scheduling is the garden wall where it falls within the
cross's protective margin, athough the ground beneath the wall is included.
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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 334
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX59SW-008, (1981)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing