Village cross in Northlew, 40m south west of the church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013716

Date first listed: 20-Dec-1995


Ordnance survey map of Village cross in Northlew, 40m south west of the church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1013716 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 19-Dec-2018 at 14:15:22.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Northlew

National Grid Reference: SX 50453 99152


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.

Despite restoration, the village cross in Northlew survives comparatively well and is likely to be in its original position. The elaborately decorated pedestal is a particularly unusual feature.


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


This monument includes the village cross of Northlew, situated in the middle of the road to the church, at a T junction within the village. The cross has a three stepped octagonal pedestal with projecting top edges. The uppermost step has its sides decorated with carved ecclesiastical motifs. All the steps of the pedestal are constructed from large slabs of granite. The bottom step is 3.1m in diameter, the length of each octagonal side is 1.32m and it is 0.76m high. The second step has a diameter of 2.6m, the length of each octagonal side is 0.92m and it is 0.48m high. The upper step has a diameter of 1.7m, the length of each octagonal side is 0.7m and it is 0.5m high. Above is a socket stone, which is also ornamented. It is square at the base and octagonal above. The base measures 0.9m long, 0.88m wide and 0.52m high. Into the socket a modern shaft has been erected which is square at the base, 0.45m long and wide, octagonal above and tapers upwards; it then expands to support the original lantern head. This is square in shape, with gabled sides under each of which there is a raised cross within a cusped niche. The height of both shaft and head is approximately 3m. The cross was restored under the direction of Reverend T England in 1850 and the shaft was restored in 1900 by Hems and Sons under the direction of Reverend John Worthington. The cross is Listed Grade II. Excluded from the scheduling are the metalled road surface where it falls within the cross's protective margin, although the ground beneath the road surface is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 27333

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Masson Phillips, E, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon : Part 1, , Vol. 69, (1936-37), 332-3
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX59NW-035, (1990)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1994)

End of official listing