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HER Number:MDV5096
Name:Nun's Cross, Walkhampton Common, Dartmoor Forest

Summary

Nun's Cross, also known as 'Siward's Cross' stands on Walkhampton Common 160 metres north-west of Nun's farm. It is 2.2 metres in height and is inscribed with 'Bocland' (thought to be 'Buckland') on the western face and 'Siward' on the eastern face. It marks the boundary between Walkhampton and Dartmoor Forest and stands on a track leading between Buckfast and Tavistock Abbeys. It also marks a v13th century boundary between land belonging to Buckland Abbey and the Forest of Dartmoor, which belonged to the Crown. Broken in 1846 it was repaired and strengthened with iron rods which are still visible.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 604 699
Map Sheet:SX66NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
Civil ParishWalkhampton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX66NW10
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66NW/20
  • Old SAM County Ref: 542
  • Old SAM Ref: 24133
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX66NW10
  • Pastscape: 441591

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CROSS (Constructed, XI to XIII - 1066 AD to 1300 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Siward's or Nun's Cross (Stone Cross)' marked on 19th century map.

Masson Phillips, E. N., 1937, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I, 309 (Article in Serial). SDV240502.

'Siward' or 'Nun's Cross', inscribed stone cross. 2.2 metres high, arms 0.8 metres wide. Latin form. The western face bears the inscription ‘Bocland’ in two lines below an incised cross at the junction of the arms. The eastern face bears the word ‘Si (or y) ward’. This appears to be later lettering as though it had been added after the cross had borne this name in order to perpetuate it.
The cross was standing in the year 1241. It marks the boundary between the Forest of Dartmoor and the manor of Walkhampton. It is also on the line of the Abbot's Way. It is associated with Seward, Earl of Northumbria who held the neighbouring manors of Tavy and Warme in the reign of Edward the Confessor. It is a granite boundary cross between the property of Buckland Abbey and the Forest of Dartmoor belonging to the crown in the 12th century, and was mentioned in the Perambulation of Dartmoor in 1240 as a boundary, and again in the Abbey foundation charter of 1280. The cross was damaged, and repaired by iron supports in 1846. It is a tall cross of rough rectangular section with small arms, set up in a socket cut of a block of granite sunk in the turf.

Starkey, F. H., 1983, Dartmoor Crosses and Some Ancient Tracks, 24-7 (Monograph). SDV345128.

Masson Phillips, E. N., 1984, Supplementary Notes on the Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon (Seventh Paper), 145-146, Fig. 12 (Article in Serial). SDV345276.

Inscription reads ‘boc lond’.

Hemery, E., 1986, Walking Dartmoor's Ancient Tracks, 152 (Monograph). SDV220153.

Crossing, W., 1987, Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor and its Borderland. Revised Edition, 73-78 (Monograph). SDV268145.

Gerrard, S., 1990-1994, Monument Protection Programme (Report - Survey). SDV350743.

Site visit 9th May 1994. Wayside cross known as Siward or Nun's Cross. Lies immediately next to a long established track leading between Buckfast and Tavistock Abbeys. Stands 2.2 metres high; arms measure 0.8 metres wide. Lies on level ground between two hills and also represents a boundary marker between the 13th century properties of Buckland Abbey and the Forest of Dartmoor which belonged to the crown. In 1240, at the Perambulation of the Forest of Dartmoor this cross was described as Crucem Siwardi, and later in 1280, 1291 and 1609 it is mentioned as being a bound mark.
The monument includes a large granite cross with a latin head and a tapering shaft inserted into a socket stone. The w face bears the inscription ‘boclond’ in two lines below an incised cross at the junction of the arms. This inscription probably refers to Buckland Abbey, on whose side of the stone, it is inscribed. The word ‘Siward’ is incised into the east face of the cross, and it is considered that this may be recording that it once also formed an 11th century boundary marker for land belonging to Siward Earl of Northumberland.
In approximately 1846 the cross was pushed to the ground and broken in half. Within two years it was re-erected and strengthened with iron rods which are still visible. Iron bands may need replacing. Poaching around socket stone needs monitoring. Other details: Photographs taken of cross.

Butler, J., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East, 222-3, Map 64 (Monograph). SDV337765.

Nuns Cross had been standing for over a century before the 1240 Perambulation of the Forest. It was also one of the limits of Walkhampton Manor to the west, lands which were later to become part of the foundation endowment of Buckland Abbey and the probable explanation for the inscription on the west face of the cross, 'BOCLAND' below a small incised cross. A crudely cut inscription angled across the arms on the opposite face reads 'SYWARD'. This was the medieval name for the cross and refers to an Earl of Northumberland who possessed some manors in the district in the 11th century. The cross also stands at the junction of the east-west 'Monks Path' to Buckland with the Tavistock branch of the 'Abbot's Way'.

Swete, J. (ed. Gray T. + Rowe, M.), 2000, Travels in Georgian Devon. The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Swete. Vol. 4, 53 (Monograph). SDV339713.

English Heritage, 2005, Survey Information (miscellaneous date) (Report - Survey). SDV345855.

Cross shown on survey.

Newman, P., 2007, Cramber Tor Training Area Monument Baseline Condition Survey, No. 441591 (Report - Survey). SDV348210.

Site visit 1st August 2006. A tall cross of rough rectangular section with small arms set up in a socket cut in a block of granite sunk into the turf. Damaged and repaired in 19th century. Under threat by use as an animal rubbing post.
The cross is mentioned in the Buckland Abbey foundation deed of 1280 and also represents a boundary marker between the 13th century properties of Buckland Abbey and the Forest of Dartmoor, which belonged to the crown.
Good, stable condition.

Probert, S., 2008, Follow-Up Works to Cramber Tor Archaeological Baseline Condition Survey, Dartmoor Training Area, 6, Figure 5, No. 441591 (Report - Survey). SDV351304.

The erosion hollow at the base of the cross has been filled in in recent years.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

'Siward's or Nun's Cross' depicted on the modern mapping.

English Heritage, 2011, National Heritage List for England, 1009096 (National Heritage List for England). SDV347072.

This monument includes a large granite wayside cross, known as Siward's or Nun's Cross, lying immediately next to a long established track leading between Buckfast and Tavistock Abbeys. The cross lies on level ground between two hills and also represents a boundary marker between the 13th century properties of Buckland Abbey and the Forest of Dartmoor which belonged to the Crown. The cross stands 2.2 metres high and its arms measure 0.8 metres wide. It has a Latin head and a tapering shaft inserted into a socket stone. The western face bears the inscription BOCLOND in two lines below an incised cross at the junction of the arms. This inscription probably refers to Buckland Abbey, on whose side of the stone it is inscribed. The word SIWARD is incised into the eastern face of the cross, and it is considered that this may be recording that this stone once also formed an 11th century boundary marker for land belonging to Siward, Earl of Northumberland. In around 1846 the cross was pushed to the ground and broken in half. Within two years it was re-erected and strengthened with iron rods which are still visible.
Despite limited damage as a result of 19th century vandalism, Siward's or Nun's Cross survives very well, is complete and remains in its original socket stone. This cross served as a boundary marker from at least the 11th century and as a marker on an important route between two abbeys. Unusually this cross bears two separate inscriptions of different dates. Date first scheduled 10th November 1964. Date of most recent amendment; 6th October 2000.

Greeves, T., 2012, Cramber Tor Training Area. Monument Condition Survey, No. 441591 (Report - Survey). SDV350251.

Site visit 5th December 2012. Condition and stability good.

National Monuments Record, 2020, Pastscape, 441591, SX66NW10 (Website). SDV363416.

Site visit 10th September 1978. At SX 60466994 Siward's or Nun's Cross. Incised. Shaft, 2.3 metres height, 0.3 metres by 0.4 metres in section, set in a base approximately 1 metre square and flush with the ground.
Field Investigation on 10th September 1978. A tall cross of rough rectangular section with small arms set up in a socket cut in block of granite sunk in the turf. The shaft has been broken and was re-erected in 1846. On the eastern face is incised the word "SIWARD" and on the western face there is a small incised cross and below it, the inscription "BOC LOND". This cross is mentioned in the Buckland Abbey foundation deed of 1280, and is a boundary mark of the Forest of Dartmoor, being also mentioned in the Perambulation of 1240.
A tall cross of rough rectangular section with small arms set up in a socket cut in block of granite sunk in the turf. The cross is located next to a track running between Buckfast and Tavistock Abbeys. The cross is mentioned in the Buckland Abbey foundation deed of 1280 and also represents a boundary marker between the 13th century properties of Buckland Abbey and the Forest of Dartmoor, which belonged to the Crown. The cross stands 2.2 metres high and the arms measure 0.8 metres wide. It has a Latin head and a tapering shaft set into a socket stone. On the western face there is a small incised cross and below it, the inscription "BOC LOND", which probably refers to Buckland Abbey. The word "SIWARD" is incised into the eastern face and it is thought that the cross also once formed an 11th century boundary marker for land belonging to Siward, Earl of Northumberland. The cross was strengthened with iron rods when re-erected after being broken in 1846. Scheduled. (5)

Sources / Further Reading

SDV220153Monograph: Hemery, E.. 1986. Walking Dartmoor's Ancient Tracks. Walking Dartmoor's Ancient Tracks. Paperback Volume. 152.
SDV240502Article in Serial: Masson Phillips, E. N.. 1937. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 69. A5 Hardback. 309.
SDV268145Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1987. Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor and its Borderland. Revised Edition. Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor and its Borderland. Revised Edition. Hardback Volume. 73-78.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337765Monograph: Butler, J.. 1993. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East. Four. Paperback Volume. 222-3, Map 64.
SDV339713Monograph: Swete, J. (ed. Gray T. + Rowe, M.). 2000. Travels in Georgian Devon. The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Swete. Vol. 4. Travels in Georgian Devon. The Illustrated Journals of the Reverend John Sw. 4. Hardback Volume. 53.
SDV345128Monograph: Starkey, F. H.. 1983. Dartmoor Crosses and Some Ancient Tracks. Dartmoor Crosses and Some Ancient Tracks. Paperback Volume. 24-7.
SDV345276Article in Serial: Masson Phillips, E. N.. 1984. Supplementary Notes on the Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon (Seventh Paper). Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 116. Paperback Volume. 145-146, Fig. 12.
SDV345855Report - Survey: English Heritage. 2005. Survey Information (miscellaneous date). English Heritage. Digital.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #129227 ]
SDV347072National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2011. National Heritage List for England. Website. 1009096.
SDV348210Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2007. Cramber Tor Training Area Monument Baseline Condition Survey. English Heritage. A4 Bound. No. 441591.
SDV350251Report - Survey: Greeves, T.. 2012. Cramber Tor Training Area. Monument Condition Survey. Tom Greeves Report. A4 Stapled. No. 441591.
SDV350743Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-1994. Monument Protection Programme. Monument Protection Programme. Unknown.
SDV351304Report - Survey: Probert, S.. 2008. Follow-Up Works to Cramber Tor Archaeological Baseline Condition Survey, Dartmoor Training Area. A4 Comb Bound. 6, Figure 5, No. 441591.
SDV363416Website: National Monuments Record. 2020. Pastscape. https://www.pastscape.org.uk/. Website. 441591, SX66NW10.

Associated Monuments

MDV62525Related to: Nun's Cross tunnel (Monument)
MDV15150Related to: Ruined farmhouse at Nun's Cross Farm, Dartmoor Forest (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6152 - Follow-up Works to Threatened Sites in the Cramber Tor Training Area
  • EDV6153 - Monument Baseline Condition Survey in the Cramber Tor Training Area
  • EDV6034 - Monument Condition Survey in Cramber Tor Training Area
  • EDV7382 - Condition Survey of the Cramber Tor Training Area

Date Last Edited:Mar 15 2021 12:13PM