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HER Number:MDV4774
Name:Sourton Down Cross

Summary

Tall rectangular section cross up to 2.13 metres high, 0.45 metres wide and 0.3 metres thick at the base. It has short arms which measure 0.51 metres 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.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 545 915
Map Sheet:SX59SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishSourton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishSOURTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX59SW/5
  • Old SAM County Ref: 38
  • Old SAM Ref: 34288

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WAYSIDE CROSS (V to XV - 500 AD to 1499 AD (Between))
  • DIRECTION STONE (XVIII to XIX - 1751 AD to 1899 AD (Between))

Full description

Unknown, Unknown source (Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry). SDV263729.

Cross at SX54739178. Sourton Cross an old granite cross on the south side of the Launceston road where it branches off. It is positioned in a recently formed recess in the hedge about 1.5 kilometres north-east of Sourton on the road to Okehampton. It is a tall cross; rough rectangular section with very short arms.
Incised north face H (Hatherleigh); south face T (Tavistock); east face O (Okehampton) west face L (Launceston). These are 18th century additions to the original cross. Bears faint inscription; princip-ivirivci avdeti (use of cunic p, n. R).

Spence Bate, C., 1876, The inscribed stones and ancient crosses of Devon, 155 (Article in Serial). SDV263738.

Baring Gould, S., 1900, A Book of Dartmoor, 142 (Monograph). SDV277387.

Crossing, W., 1902, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor, 118 (Monograph). SDV178385.

Rhys, J., 1918, Unknown title, 191 (Article in Serial). SDV263752.

Burd, E. P., 1936, Okehampton Turnpikes, 316 plate 21, figure 4 (Article in Serial). SDV222431.

Masson Phillips, E. N., 1937, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I, 336-337 (Article in Serial). SDV240502.

The cross stands in a recently formed recess in the hedge. It is tall and of rough rectangulart section with small short arms. Type A. The head above the arms expands slightly upwards. The shaft bear an illegible inscription cut lengthwise in three lines, hence it has been suggested that the stoen was originally a sepulchral or memorial stone which has been re-cut into a cross.
Incised letter (one on each face) H, T, O, and H, for Hatherleigh, Tavistock etc indicate its subsequent use as a direction post.

Macalister, R. A. S., 1945, Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum, 1946, 470-1 illustration (Article in Serial). SDV345993.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950-1974, SX59SW4 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV263735.

The cross is 2.1 metres high and its stubby arms project 0.05 metres from the sides of the shaft (19/5/1951).
Photograph. A 5th or 6th century memorial stone (6/1/1954).
No change (7/10/1974).

Wall, J., 1968, Christian Evidence in Roman south-west Britain, 177-178 figure, map (Article in Serial). SDV263740.

The stone monument has a three-line Latin inscription with, above it, what is probably meant to be a chi-rho monogram, though it is incomplete. Above the monogram some ancient ornament.

Balkwill, C. J. + Silvester, R. J., 1976, Earthworks on Sourton Down, near Okehampton, 88-89 (Article in Serial). SDV346220.

In Dean Milles' enquiry of 1745-56 the cross was reported to stand approximately 3.5 miles west of Okehampton on left side of road going west.

Minchinton, W. E., 1976, Industrial Archaeology in Devon, 5 (Monograph). SDV7016.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1978, Archaeological Sites within Okehampton Park and its Vicinity, No A.4 (Un-published). SDV233126.

King, A. C., 1979, A30 Okehampton Bypass: Final Report, No. 34 (worksheet) (Report - Survey). SDV343861.

Timms, S., 1983, Comment about the Sourton Cross, (18/4/1983) (Personal Comment). SDV263744.

The cross is thought to have been repositioned during a Devon County Council road widening scheme in the 1920 or 1930s. It is now positioned in a recess in a modern beech hedge the above grid reference is that given by Ordnance Survey contra Greeves and King.

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

Weston, S., 1983, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983 (Un-published). SDV343247.

Visited in 1983.

English Heritage, 1986, Okehampton Bypass: Field Survey, (1987)24,136/ Okehampton parish file (Report - Survey). SDV346235.

Kerr, B., 1987, Sourton Cross: Removal to Okehampton Castle. 11th November 1986 (Correspondence). SDV263746.

Before its removal, the cross was set in a hedge bank on the south side of the junction of the A30 with the A386. The hedge bank, crowned with a dwarf beech hedge, deviated from a straight line to form a semi-circular bay around the cross, which immediately before removal stood 1.92 metres above the turf line.
The cross was set into a socket cut into the natural clay and gravel and sealed by a thin layer of grey clay and gravel and although it fitted into the socket neatly, modern pottery and fragments of tarmac found indicate that it had not occupied the site for long. However, the sheer size and weight of the stone makes it unlikely that it would have been moved far.
The cross was removed under archaeological supervision in 1986 in advance of construction of the Okehampton bypass. It is due to be re-sited in approximately 2 years. The cross was found to be bedded about 1.7 metres in the ground, but no useful archaeological context was observed.
The cross is at present being stored at the works compound at Okehampton Castle.
A detailed description of the removal of the stone and photographs of the operation are in the parish file.

Department of Environment, 1987, Sourton, 82 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV263856.

Sourton Down Cross. Wayside cross. May originally have been an early Christian stone converted to a cross in late Medieval times. Roughly squared granite Latin cross with very short arms. The shaft bears an inscription which runs in 3 lines downwards but is virtually illegible although it has been interpreted as a personal name preceded by a title of authority accompanied by a symbol of Christianity. The cross has later had the initials of Hatherleigh, Okehampton, Tavistock and Launceston inscribed on its various faces as a guide post.

Kerr, B., 1988, Sourton Cross note and sketch, (31/8/1988) 1:4 scale drawing (Correspondence). SDV263749.

Details of the cross, including a sketch. The Ancient Monuments Laboratory are going to take a cast of the stone before it is taken back to Sourton.

Weddell, P. J. + Pye, A. R., 1990, A30 Okehampton Bypass to Launceston Bypass Archaeological Assessment Part 1: Summary Report and Recommendations, 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV264659.

Ancient Monuments, 2001, Sourton Cross (Schedule Document). SDV263730.

Sourton Down Cross. Tall rectangular section cross comprised single granite slab 2.13 metres high, 0.45 metres wide, 0.3 metres thick at base. Short arms, 0.51 metres wide. Engraved with Romano-Christian inscription: principi/iurivoci/audeti. Thought to date to before Christ. Reused as wayside cross in the 14th or 15th century. Also bears letters H, T, O and L, indicating use as route marker. Relocated to present position in 1980s.
Originally an inscribed stone , later a cross; still later, used as a signpost - the four letters H,L,O,T being evidently intended as directions for Hatherleigh, Launceston, Okehampton and Tavistock. Inscribed side is towards the north, and owing to later mutilations is extremely difficult to read.

Watson, A., 2007-2017?, Devon Crosses, 424, (vol 4), sketch (Un-published). SDV360833.

Sourton Down SX546916
Sourton Down Cross stands at the roadside on the old main Okehampton to Tavistock road, about 3.5 miles south-west of Okehampton. A tall cross of rough rectangular section with small, short arms. The head above the arms expands slightly upwards. It is thought that the stone originally was an early Christian memorial; that was later converted into a wayside cross. It has inscribed on it a chi-ro and the words 'PRINCIP-IVIRIVOCI AUDETI', which could be a personal name with the title of authority.
The cross has been used as a direction post, and has the following inscribed:
Incised north face H (Hatherleigh); south face T (Tavistock); east face O (Okehampton) west face L (Launceston).
The cross was removed in 1988 for safekeeping while the new A30 road was constructed. It was stored in Okehampton Castle grounds, cleaned ands a mould taken by English Heritage. It was re-erected at the roadside in 1988 where it stands today.
Cross height 2.11 metres, span 0.53 metres. Base 0.45 by 0.27 metres.

English Heritage, 2014, National Heritage List for England, 1020270 and 1106263 (National Heritage List for England). SDV355683.

Scheduling:
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.
Listing:
8/119 Sourton Down Cross - 22.2.67- II
Wayside Cross. May originally have been an early Christian stone converted to a cross in late medieval times. Roughly squared granite Latin cross with very short arms. The shaft bears an inscription which runs in 3 lines downwards but is virtually illegible although it has been interpreted as a personal name preceded by a title of authority accompanied by a symbol of Christianity. The cross has later had the initials of Hatherleigh, Okehampton, Tavistock and Launceston inscribed on its various faces as a guide-post. Source: Dartmoor Crosses - F H Starkey.
Listing NGR: SX5455291553

Historic England, 2016, National Heritage List for England, Accessed 05/07/2016 (National Heritage List for England). SDV359353.

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.
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.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV178385Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1902. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor. Unknown. 118.
SDV222431Article in Serial: Burd, E. P.. 1936. Okehampton Turnpikes. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 68. A5 Hardback. 316 plate 21, figure 4.
SDV233126Un-published: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1978. Archaeological Sites within Okehampton Park and its Vicinity. Archaeological Sites within Okehampton Park and its Vicinity. No A.4.
SDV240502Article in Serial: Masson Phillips, E. N.. 1937. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 69. A5 Hardback. 336-337.
SDV263729Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry: Unknown. Unknown source.
SDV263730Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. 2001. Sourton Cross. The Schedule of Monuments. Unknown.
SDV263735Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950-1974. SX59SW4. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV263738Article in Serial: Spence Bate, C.. 1876. The inscribed stones and ancient crosses of Devon. Transactions of the Plymouth Institution. 6. Unknown. 155.
SDV263740Article in Serial: Wall, J.. 1968. Christian Evidence in Roman south-west Britain. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 100. Unknown. 177-178 figure, map.
SDV263744Personal Comment: Timms, S.. 1983. Comment about the Sourton Cross. Not Applicable. (18/4/1983).
SDV263746Correspondence: Kerr, B.. 1987. Sourton Cross: Removal to Okehampton Castle. 11th November 1986. Letter. Digital.
SDV263749Correspondence: Kerr, B.. 1988. Sourton Cross note and sketch. Letter. Digital. (31/8/1988) 1:4 scale drawing.
SDV263752Article in Serial: Rhys, J.. 1918. Unknown title. Archaeologia Cambrensis. 18. Unknown. 191.
SDV263856List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Sourton. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 82.
SDV264659Report - Assessment: Weddell, P. J. + Pye, A. R.. 1990. A30 Okehampton Bypass to Launceston Bypass Archaeological Assessment Part 1: Summary Report and Recommendations. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 90.33. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV277387Monograph: Baring Gould, S.. 1900. A Book of Dartmoor. A Book of Dartmoor. Unknown. 142.
SDV343247Un-published: Weston, S.. 1983. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Unknown.
SDV343861Report - Survey: King, A. C.. 1979. A30 Okehampton Bypass: Final Report. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. Mixed Archive Material. No. 34 (worksheet).
SDV345128Monograph: Starkey, F. H.. 1983. Dartmoor Crosses and Some Ancient Tracks. Dartmoor Crosses and Some Ancient Tracks. Paperback Volume.
SDV345993Article in Serial: Macalister, R. A. S.. 1945. Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum. Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum. 1. Unknown. 1946, 470-1 illustration.
SDV346220Article in Serial: Balkwill, C. J. + Silvester, R. J.. 1976. Earthworks on Sourton Down, near Okehampton. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 34. Paperback Volume. 88-89.
SDV346235Report - Survey: English Heritage. 1986. Okehampton Bypass: Field Survey. Central Excavation Unit Report. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. (1987)24,136/ Okehampton parish file.
SDV355683National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2014. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Website. 1020270 and 1106263. [Mapped feature: #29335 ]
SDV359353National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2016. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. Accessed 05/07/2016.
SDV360833Un-published: Watson, A.. 2007-2017?. Devon Crosses. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. 424, (vol 4), sketch.
SDV7016Monograph: Minchinton, W. E.. 1976. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Industrial Archaeology in Devon. Paperback Volume. 5.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Apr 7 2020 1:47PM