Pynes Cross, 290m east of Pynes


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016566

Date first listed: 16-Apr-1999


Ordnance survey map of Pynes Cross, 290m east of Pynes
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: East Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Upton Pyne

National Grid Reference: SX 91690 96359


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.

The wayside cross known as Pynes Cross has survived reasonably well apart from damage to its cross head arms which may have resulted from the religious upheavals of the Reformation. The cross was re-erected only a few metres from its original position close to a path which is considered to have been in use since the medieval period. It thus has a long continuity at this location and a recognised role as a wayside marker on the path which still acts as a public footpath.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as Pynes Cross, situated just north of the River Exe alongside an ancient footpath. The wayside cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives with a medieval socket stone, a shaft, and a cross head which has both arms missing. The socket stone is of quatrefoil shape with a chamfered top edge and is 0.9m square at the base. The granite stone shaft, which has an iron pin fixing its base into the socket stone, is rectangular in section being 0.35m by 0.4m at the base and it has well defined chamfered corners. It stands to its full height of 1.7m but both arms of the cross head have been sheared off in antiquity. There is a record of the cross having toppled and, as a result, having been moved and re-erected on a fixed concrete base 4.5m SSW of its original position. However, as it did in the past, the cross stands just to the north east of what is considered to be an old path linking the villages of Cowley and Bramford Speake. Medieval documents show that in 1269 Bishop Bronescombe appropriated a tithe sheaf of Cowley to Bramford Speake, though separated by the parish of Upton Pyne, and the cross probably marked a meeting of local routes in the later medieval period.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 1 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: 29677

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Cresswell, B F, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in Churchyard and Wayside Crosses in the Neighbourhood of Exeter, , Vol. 47, (1915), 191
Masson Phillips, E M, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon, Part 2, , Vol. 70, (1938), 321
Quinnell, N V, Ordnance Survey Archaeology, (1982)

End of official listing