The Goreus Stone, immediately west of St Bartholomew's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019240

Date first listed: 21-Feb-1957

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of The Goreus Stone, immediately west of St Bartholomew's Church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Yealmpton

National Grid Reference: SX 57741 51706


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

Reasons for Designation

Early Christian memorial stones are inscribed free-standing stones commemorating named individuals and dating to the early medieval period (c.AD 400-1100). The stones are erect, roughly dressed or undressed slabs, bearing incised inscriptions, usually set in one or more vertical lines down one face of the slab, although in four examples the text runs horizontally across the slab. All except two recorded texts are in Latin and, depending on their date, may be inscribed in a script of Romanised capitals or an insular form of lower case lettering called miniscules, or a mixture of the two. Six stones also have inscriptions in an Irish script called ogham. Most inscriptions are simple, bearing a personal name and often stating a family relationship, such as `filii' (son of), to another personal name. Fourteen stones contain elements of the simple inscriptions within a longer, complex inscriptive formula, often including the phrase `hic iacet' (here lies). Additional decoration is found on very few stones and usually comprises a cross within a circle. Early examples, prior to the eighth century AD, may bear an early Christian symbol called a Chi Rho monogram, compounding the first two Greek letters of the name `Christ'. Early Christian memorial stones are largely restricted to areas which retained Celtic traditions during the early medieval period, with at least 139 recorded from Wales. In England, they are almost entirely confined to the south-west peninsula; of the 56 recorded examples, 37 occur in Cornwall, 11 in Devon, a group of 5 in Dorset, and single examples in Somerset, Hampshire and Shropshire. As a very rare and diverse class of monument important for our understanding of the social organisation and the development of literacy and Christianity during the early medieval period, all surviving groundfast examples of early Christian memorial stones are considered worthy of protection.

Although not in its original position, the Goreus Stone is a rare survival, being one of about 50 early Christian memorial stones known from south west England, of which 11 are in Devon. The Yealmpton stone probably dates from the 6th century AD on the basis of its lettering, which represents a particularly early date.


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


The monument includes an early Christian memorial stone located 10m west of the church tower in Yealmpton churchyard. It consists of a granite slab 1.83m high, 0.49m by 0.27m wide at its base, tapering to 0.4m by 0.18m wide at a point 0.3m from the rounded top. On its east face, the inscription GOREUS in Roman capitals is inscribed vertically down the stone with the letters on their sides, roughly cut into the surface. The west side has three oval holes cut into it. These are about 8cm wide by 11cm high and about 10cm deep. Previous reports suggest that the stone was used as a gatepost and was moved to its present position in 1851. The stone is set upright in the churchyard between a retaining wall and a table tomb, both of 19th century date. The Goreus Stone is Listed Grade II*. The retaining wall and tomb, where these fall within the stone's 2m protective margin are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 33749

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Macalister, R A S, Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum, (1945)

End of official listing