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HER Number:MDV103221
Name:Early Christian Stone in Belstone Parish Church, Belstone

Summary

Granite stone, 1.31 metres high, inscribed with a cross within a circle with a cross with curving arms, possibly stylised representation of the crucifixion, below. 7th - 9th century in date.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 619 935
Map Sheet:SX69SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishBelstone
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBELSTONE

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CROSS (Constructed, VII to IX - 601 AD to 899 AD (Between))
  • INSCRIBED STONE (Constructed, VII to IX - 601 AD to 899 AD (Between))

Full description

Masson Phillips, E. N., 1937, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I, 331 (Article in Serial). SDV240502.

A broken stone slab in the churchyard leans against the north wall of the tower. It bears an inscribed cross in a circle at the top below which a segment of a concentric circle meets a line which turns the length of the slab and terminates in a rectangular base. Formerly built into an old wall near the rectory. Referred to as a 'cross' but probably an early sepulchral slab originally from the church.


Levy, S., 2005, An Incised Stone at Belstone (Report - Survey). SDV350637.

Incised stone at St. Marys Church, Belstone. The stone has been the subject of antiquarian interest since the late 19th century when it was located in the wall of the avenue leading to the former Belstone Rectory.
The stone, a piece of local granite moorstone, is 1.31 metres high and circa 0.18 metres thick. It varies in width from 0.34 metres above the ring-cross design to 0.54 metres at its widest point, narrowing to 0.35 metres at its base. The decoration comprises a cross within a circle, 40.5 centimetres diameter. The arms of the cross do connect with the external circle. Below the circle, but again, not connected to it is a vertical stem 0.68 metres long. Near the top of the stem, two arms extend outwards in an arc, broadly concentric with the circle. The stem extends to the base of the stone, terminating on a short horizontal line, of which only the left-hand side remains intact. A vertical line extends from the end of the horizontal line to the bottom of the stone. The design has been cut to a V-shaped profile varying in width from 2.0-4.0 centimetres and in depth 0.5 to 1.5 centimetres.
It has been suggested that the stone has pagan rather than Christian origins. However, Levy shows that the intended symbolism is Christian and compares it with other cross-incised stones. The decoration is probably 7th - 9th century in date and may have been erected to mark an early Christian burial ground or the burial of an important individual or to delineate the boundary of church land. The original location of the stone is not known but was probably within the locality of Belstone. It was subsequently reused as a step for an almshouse, which was demolished in 1861 at which time it was presumably moved to the rectory wall. It was removed to the churchyard when the rectory was sold in 1920 and now stands inside the church, having been moved there recently by Dartmoor National Park Authority.


Greeves, T., 31/03/1982, Incised Stone (Worksheet). SDV222639.

Early Christian(?) incised granite stone leaning against the north outside wall of Belstone Church, on the west side of the porch. The incised decoration comprises a neat circle, 0.39 metres diameter with a cross inside it and, below the circle, a possible stylized representation of Christ crucified. The distance between the outstretched 'arms' is 0.32 metres and the length of the central groove, 0.68 metres. The grooves are generally 30-40 millimetres wide and about 10 millimetres deep.


Cramp, R., March 2005, Inscribed Stone at Belstone (Correspondence). SDV350649.

Cramp suggests that the presence of a holy well at Sticklepath and an inscribed stone at Sourton are indicative of an early Christian site. She agrees with Levy in that parallels to the Belstone stone are to be found in the Celtic west and draws attention to Irish examples.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV222639Worksheet: Greeves, T.. 31/03/1982. Incised Stone. Worksheet.
SDV240502Article in Serial: Masson Phillips, E. N.. 1937. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 69. A5 Hardback. 331.
SDV350637Report - Survey: Levy, S.. 2005. An Incised Stone at Belstone. Dartmoor National Park Authority Report. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. [Mapped feature: #62705 ]
SDV350649Correspondence: Cramp, R.. March 2005. Inscribed Stone at Belstone. Letter to S. Levy. Letter.

Associated Monuments

MDV121147Related to: Almhouses, Belstone (Building)
MDV18052Related to: Cross at Old Rectory Farm, Belstone (Monument)
MDV6866Related to: Inscribed Stone at Old Rectory Farm, Belstone (Monument)
MDV6872Related to: St Mary's Parish Church, Belstone (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6076 - Survey of Incised Stone at Belstone

Date Last Edited:Feb 27 2018 12:00PM