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HER Number:MDV5632
Name:Windy Post Cross, Whitchurch


Windy post Cross, Whitchurch. Also known as 'Windypost', Windystone' or 'Beckamoor Cross'. Located next to track leading from the moor around Merrivale into Tavistock. Octagonal in section, the cross is 2.0 metres high and leans slightly to the west. By Dartmoor standards it has been well dressed, with chamfered edges. This suggests a relatively late medieval date, in which case it might be a replacement of an earlier cross.


Grid Reference:SX 534 742
Map Sheet:SX57SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishWhitchurch
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishWHITCHURCH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 440422
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SW/42
  • Old SAM Ref: 24812

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CROSS (Late Medieval - 1401 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.

"Windypost" or "Beckamoor Cross" is on the moor north of Pen Tor and close to Feather Tor. It is a tall, Type B cross of octagonal section, leaning slightly to the west. The shaft is straight and does not taper. The square corner of a broken stone (? socket-stone) is visible at the base of the cross, partly hidden by turf.

Beckerlegge, J. J., 1940, Ninth report of the Plymouth and District Branch, 154 (Article in Serial). SDV147947.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950, SX57SW4 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV220154.

Cross is 2.0 metres high and leans approximately 12 degrees to the west. Span of the arms is 0.7 metres. Constructed from moorland granite, the massive octagonal shaft is set in a large rectangular socket.

Hemery, E., 1986, Walking Dartmoor's Ancient Tracks, 74-8 (Monograph). SDV220153.

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 130913, 1993 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

Wayside cross known as Windypost, Windystone or Beckamoor Cross. Situated immediately next to a long established track leading from the moor around Merrivale into Tavistock. Cross lies on level ground between Barn Hill and Feather Tor and is visible for long distances from the west and east.
The monument includes a granite cross with a Latin head and a straight octagonal shaft inserted into a platform composed of several stones, one of which is part of a broken socket stone. Cross leans slightly to the west, stands 2.0 metres high and its arms measure 0.7 metres wide and these are also chamfered to produce an octagonal section. An Ordnance Survey bench mark is cut into the lower part of the cross-shaft on the south-facing side.

1993, Untitled Source (Photograph). SDV220157.

Photographs by S. Gerrard (15/4/1993). Other details: In HER.

Rendell, P., 1994, Which way to Cockerntor?, 3-4 (Article in Serial). SDV220303.

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

'Stone Cross' depicted on the modern mapping.

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

Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and, because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provides direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking settlements, or on routes which might have a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long distance routes frequented on pilgrimages. Over 110 examples of wayside crosses are known on Dartmoor, where they form the commonest type of stone cross. Almost all of the wayside crosses on the Moor take the form of a `Latin' cross, in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an unenclosed cross. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval routeways, settlement patterns and the development of sculptural traditions. All wayside crosses on the Moor which survive as earth-fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.
Windy Post is a well preserved medieval wayside cross. By Dartmoor standards it has been well dressed, with chamfered edges. This suggests a relatively late medieval date, in which case it might be a replacement of an earlier cross. It is sited on the lowest moorland crossing point between the watersheds of the Rivers Walkham and Tavy, and must have been on an important medieval route. A published photographic record of the cross survives from c.1900.
The monument includes a well preserved granite cross known as Windy Post or Beckamoor Cross, conspicuously sited on a col forming the lowest moorland crossing point between the watersheds of the Rivers Walkham and Tavy, on the line of a medieval route leading from Tavistock eastwards across Dartmoor, and beside two branches of the still flowing Grimstone and Sortridge leat.
The cross is formed from a single piece of moderately coarse-grained granite. It has a considerable lean to the west though seems firmly set - the corner of a presumed socket stone is visible. The arms of the cross are aligned east-west. The total length of the cross is 2.0 metres. The shaft, arms and head all have well-chamfered edges, which make the cross octagonal in section, though discounting the chamfers the shaft is nearly square, being approximately 0.3 metres by 0.29 metres. The chamfers are between 0.1 metres and 0.11 metres wide. The head of the cross is rounded at the top, and extends 0.28 metres above the arms, while the arms extend 0.18 metres beyond the shaft and are 0.29 metres deep.
An Ordnance Survey bench mark has been cut on the south side of the shaft - the top of the bench mark is 0.49 metres above the turf. The south side of the east arm of the cross is missing approximately 0.15 metres of chamfer, probably due to an old break. The visible portion of the presumed socket stone, which is of granite, measures 0.8 metres by 0.45 metres by 0.15 metres thick. It appears to be held up by another stone 0.8 metres by 0.26 metres by 0.16 metres thick angled underneath it on the west-south-west side. Another partially buried stone lies approximately 0.75 metres to the south. Its visible portion measures 0.55 metres by 0.4 metres by 0.15 metres thick. These stones are believed to form part of a platform on which the cross is sited. (Description 1994) Other details: SAM UID: 24812.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV147947Article in Serial: Beckerlegge, J. J.. 1940. Ninth report of the Plymouth and District Branch. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 72. A5 Hardback. 154.
SDV220153Monograph: Hemery, E.. 1986. Walking Dartmoor's Ancient Tracks. Walking Dartmoor's Ancient Tracks. Paperback Volume. 74-8.
SDV220154Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950. SX57SW4. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV220157Photograph: 1993. Unknown.
SDV220303Article in Serial: Rendell, P.. 1994. Which way to Cockerntor?. Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group Newsletter. 7. Unknown. 3-4.
SDV240502Article in Serial: Masson Phillips, E. N.. 1937. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 69. A5 Hardback. 316.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP 130913, 1993.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #95534 ]
SDV347072National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2011. National Heritage List for England. Website.

Associated Monuments

MDV3597Related to: BULLSEYE STONE in the Parish of Whitchurch (Monument)
MDV25907Related to: Grimstone and Sortridge Leat (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Mar 12 2018 3:14PM