Sourton Down Cross, 360m north east of Aliceford Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020270

Date first listed: 26-Aug-1924

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Apr-2002


Ordnance survey map of Sourton Down Cross, 360m north east of Aliceford Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. 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: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Sourton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 54557 91546


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.

Sourton Down Cross shows several different phases of reuse as a nationally rare Early Christian inscribed stone, a wayside cross and later as a route marker. This demonstrates its longevity as an important local landmark.


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


This monument includes a wayside cross known as Sourton Down Cross which is situated beside a minor road 520m north west of Prewley. The monument survives as a tall rectangular section cross composed of a single granite slab up to 2.13m high, 0.45m wide and 0.3m thick at the base. It has short arms which measure 0.51m wide. It is engraved with a Romano-Christian inscription, which reads: PRINCIPI/IURIVOCI/AUDETI. The stone is thought to date to the sixth century was reused as a wayside cross in the 14th or 15th century. The cross also bears the initial letters H (Hatherleigh) north facing, T (Tavistock) south facing, O (Okehampton) east facing and L (Launceston) west facing. This indicates its further reuse as a route marker. It was relocated to its present position following alterations to the A30 trunk road in the 1980s. The cross is Listed Grade II.

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: 34288

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Sourton Down Cross, (2000)

End of official listing