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HER Number:MDV3587
Name:Pixies' Cross: a wayside cross and associated earthwork enclosure on Whitchurch Down

Summary

Monolithic cross of coarse-grained granite, in a very prominent position in the middle of Whitchurch Down, sited in a slight hollow on the bank of an associated earthwork enclosure. There is no sign of a socket stone, but the cross seems very firmly set in the turf. The total height of the cross is 2.25 metres.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 501 736
Map Sheet:SX57SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishWhitchurch
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishWHITCHURCH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SW/1
  • Old SAM County Ref: 417
  • Old SAM Ref: 24811

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WAYSIDE CROSS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Masson Phillips, E. N., 1937, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I, 316 (Article in Serial). SDV240502.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950, SX57SW15, 16/1/1953 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV236930.

Pixies' Cross, a tall, very rudely shaped cross of rough rectangular section with peculiarly misshapen arms. There is an incised cross between the arms on one face. The cross is made from moorland granite and is in good condition.


Ancient Monuments, 1959, Pixie's Cross (Schedule Document). SDV236929.

A fine cross with a tall shaft, all cut from one piece of granite. Incised equal arm cross on one face of head. On golf course at the edge of a disused quarry.


Starkey, F. H., 1983, Dartmoor Crosses and Some Ancient Tracks, 28-30 (Monograph). SDV345128.


Department of Environment, 1987, Whitchurch, 111 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV348363.

Cross. Medieval. Roughly-hewn granite monolith with latin shaped head.


Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J., 1992, Archaeological Assessment of Tavistock Area Water Supply, 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV340617.


Ancient Monuments, 1993, The Schedule of Monuments (Schedule Document). SDV126938.

Monolithic cross of coarse-grained granite, sited in slight hollow on bank of an associated earthwork enclosure. No sign of a socket stone, but cross seems very firmly set in the turf. Top two-thirds of shaft curve slightly to west-north-west. Crude stumpy arms aligned north-north-east by south-south-west.
Shaft of neat rectangular section, 0.32 metres by 0.3 metres. Total height 2.25 metres. Arms have total width of 0.75 metres and maximum extent beyond shaft is 0.25 metres. Head of cross extends 0.46 metres above arms.
Incised carvings on west-north-west face of cross include a crude cross, 0.4 metres by 0.3 metres.
The bank on which the cross stands forms a continuous ring to the east, broken only by entrance to quarry. Bank has external ditch, partially infilled on east side by relatively recent soil-dumping. Bank and ditch apparently earlier than cross. Enclosure formed is approximately 45 metres in diameter.


Ordnance Survey, 2016, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359352.

'Pixie's Cross Stone Cross' is depicted on the modern mapping.


Historic England, 2016, National Heritage List for England, Accessed 04/07/2016 (National Heritage List for England). SDV359353.

Pixies' Cross is one of the best preserved and most visually impressive of all medieval wayside crosses on Dartmoor. It is one of a line of crosses marking medieval routes to and from Tavistock where there was a Benedictine abbey. The location of the cross on top of the bank of an earlier enclosure is a rare association and suggests that the enclosure must be early medieval or even prehistoric in origin. A published photographic record of the cross survives from c.1900.
The monument includes a monolithic cross of coarse-grained granite, in a very prominent position in the middle of Whitchurch Down, sited in a slight hollow on the bank of an associated earthwork enclosure. There is no sign of a socket stone, but the cross seems very firmly set in the turf. The top two-thirds of the shaft curve slightly to the WNW. The cross has crude stumpy arms which are aligned NNE-SSW. The cross shaft is of neat rectangular section, 0.32m by 0.3m. The total height of the cross is 2.25m. The arms have a total width of 0.75m, and their maximum extent beyond the shaft is 0.25m. The head of the cross extends a maximum of 0.46m above the arms. The cross is Listed Grade II. There are incised carvings on the WNW face of the cross, including a crude cross measuring 0.4m vertically by 0.3m horizontally. The cut is approximately 0.04m wide by 0.01m deep. The bank on which the cross stands forms a continuous ring to the east, broken only by the entrance to the quarry. The bank has an external ditch which has been partially filled on the east side by relatively recent dumping of soil. It appears that the bank and ditch are earlier than both the quarry, which is presently on the site, and the cross. The enclosure formed by the bank and ditch is c.143m in circumference and c.45m in diameter.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV126938Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. 1993. The Schedule of Monuments. The Schedule of Monuments.
SDV236929Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. 1959. Pixie's Cross. The Schedule of Monuments.
SDV236930Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950. SX57SW15. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index. 16/1/1953.
SDV240502Article in Serial: Masson Phillips, E. N.. 1937. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 69. A5 Hardback. 316.
SDV340617Report - Assessment: Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J.. 1992. Archaeological Assessment of Tavistock Area Water Supply. Exeter Archaeology Report. 92.48. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV345128Monograph: Starkey, F. H.. 1983. Dartmoor Crosses and Some Ancient Tracks. Dartmoor Crosses and Some Ancient Tracks. Paperback Volume. 28-30.
SDV348363List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Whitchurch. Historic Houses Register. A4 Single Sheet. 111.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #20871 ]
SDV359353National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2016. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. Accessed 04/07/2016.

Associated Monuments

MDV5076Related to: The Abbot's Way, Dartmoor (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Jul 4 2016 11:15AM