Standing cross known as Speke's Cross, 500m north east of Eggesford House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016206

Date first listed: 08-Jun-1970

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Aug-1997


Ordnance survey map of Standing cross known as Speke's Cross, 500m north east of Eggesford House
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: Mid Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Wembworthy

National Grid Reference: SS 67798 11767


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 being relocated, the standing cross known as Speke's Cross survives comparatively well.


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


The monument includes a medieval standing cross known as Speke's Cross situated 500m north east of Eggesford House. The cross is located on a triangular island between three drives within the landscaped grounds which originally formed part of the Eggesford Estate. It stands in a square socket stone on a modern two-stepped pedestal. The cross is roughly carved from a single piece of granite. One face is flattened and smooth; this faces north west. The other faces are roughly tooled and dressed. The cross is a simple `Latin' cross which tapers slightly upwards and is roughly square in section. The base measures 0.45m long by 0.4m wide; at the arms it is 0.6m wide and the cross itself is 2.6m high. The left arm of the cross has been restored, but the right arm is chipped. The socket stone into which the shaft is set measures 0.81m long by 0.79m wide and is 0.3m high. This socket stone is set in concrete into a two stepped plinth, probably of late-19th or early-20th century construction. The modern base has an inscription which is all but illegible. In total the cross and its base are 3.45m high. This type of cross is typical of those thought to date to the 15th century, and was likely to have been a wayside cross. It was allegedly moved to its present location by the Portsmouth family.

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: 30309

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS61SE12, (1991)

End of official listing