Village cross, Cross Street


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020872

Date first listed: 10-Aug-1955

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Mar-2003


Ordnance survey map of Village cross, Cross Street
© 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: Teignbridge (District Authority)

Parish: Moretonhampstead

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 75508 86039


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

Reasons for Designation

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone, mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD). Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the scenes of games or recreational activity. Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the 13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base, buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their original location, are considered worthy of protection.

Despite historic damage, the village cross in Cross Street, Moretonhampstead survives comparatively well and stands in close proximity to a large number of broadly contemporary buildings. The cross forms an important part of a significant historic settlement.


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


The monument includes a village cross situated in Cross Street, Moretonhampstead immediately outside the churchyard of St Andrew's Church. The cross survives as an octagonal pedestal upon which a cross head has been set. The pedestal measures 0.6m high, 3.2m in diameter and its upper section is denoted by ashlared granite blocks each measuring 1.2m long. Within the area denoted by the pedestal is a substantial beech tree and a cross head. The cross head measures 0.7m wide by 0.62m high and each face is chamfered. The cross is set upon the pedestal in an upside down position and a circular hole at the top of the stone measuring 0.17m in diameter and 0.1m deep represents a socket into which the now lost shaft would have been inserted. In the centre of the western face of the cross is a T-shaped recess measuring 0.26m wide by 0.28m high and 0.03m deep. On the eastern face there is a 0.23m high by 0.1m wide and 0.03m deep rectangular recess.

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: 34447

Legacy System: RSM


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End of official listing