Cross and Hand wayside cross 670m south of the Friary of St Francis


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015041

Date first listed: 23-Oct-1954

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Nov-1996


Ordnance survey map of Cross and Hand wayside cross 670m south of the Friary of St Francis
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Batcombe

National Grid Reference: ST 63180 03780


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 the fact that the head has been removed, the Cross and Hand wayside cross 670m south of the Friary of St Francis is well preserved and, surviving in its original position, remains an important example of its class.


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


The monument includes a wayside cross 670m south of the Friary of St Francis. The cross includes a monolithic oval shaft, 0.82m in diameter and 1m high with a crudely carved collar and larger rounded head. The hand, said to have been carved on one face, is no longer traceable and an Ordnance Survey benchmark has been carved near the base on the southern side of the pillar. It is possible that this cross belongs to the group of pre-Conquest shafts of which the pillar of Eliseg, which is said to be 6th century in date, is the best known. The cross is decribed by Hardy in Tess of the D'Urbevilles as a `strange rude monolith'. The cross is Listed Grade II.

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: 27441

Legacy System: RSM


Historical Monuments in the county of Dorset, (1976)

End of official listing