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HER Number:MDV6302
Name:Childe's Tomb Cross, near Fox Tor, Dartmoor Forest


Cross at Childe's Tomb erected on top of the cist on the summit of Childe's Tomb cairn


Grid Reference:SX 625 702
Map Sheet:SX67SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX67SW31
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SW/55
  • Pastscape: 443322

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CROSS (Early Medieval to XIX - 1066 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Carrington, N. T., 1826, Dartmoor, a descriptive poem, vignette (Unknown). SDV268135.

Crossing, W., 1887, Ancient Crosses of Dartmoor, 60-1 (Monograph). SDV261792.

Crossing, W., 1902, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor, 88-95 (Monograph). SDV178385.

Breton, H. H., 1912, Beautiful Dartmoor III. Southern Quarter, 19-20 (Monograph). SDV250997.

Crossing, W., 1912 (1965), Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor, 108-9 (Monograph). SDV320981.

Masson Phillips, E. N., 1937, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I, 309-10 (Article in Serial). SDV240502.

Childe's Tomb cross, on the moor near Fox Tor, about 4.8 kilometres south-east of Princetown, 2.5 kilometres east of Siward's Cross. Type A. At the present time Childe's Tomb (restored) consists of a kistvaen surrounded by the remains of a retaining circle and surmounted by a rough pedestal bearing a small modern cross of rectangular section erected in a square socket-stone with a chamfered top edge. Originally the kist was covered by a pedestal of three square steps (of which the present stones are the remains) on which stood the ancient socket-stone bearing a cross of rectangular section. This broken socket-stone lies on the moor close by. Square at the base and becomes octagonal above, by the corners being chamfered off. The top edge of the octagonal upper surface is also chamfered. The socket hole is rectangular. One side of the socket-stone is broken away.

Finberg, H. P. R., 1946, Childe's tomb, 265-80 (Article in Serial). SDV259009.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, 4389 (Aerial Photograph). SDV169268.

Hoskins, W.G. + Finberg, H.P.R., 1952, Devonshire Studies, 40-58 (Monograph). SDV351522.

Brown, T., 1954, The Dartmoor Legend of Mr Child (Monograph). SDV268143.

Fox, A., 1969, Swincombe Survey, 48, 9 (Report - Survey). SDV250998.

Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 153 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

Cairn, diameter 9.0 metres, height 0.3 metres with modern retaining circle 5.4 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres high; central cist placed south-east by north-west. Crossing says "the stones appear to have been artificially shaped, the kistvaen not being of such rude construction as the examples generally found. On this account it would appear to be of less antiquity, though in plan precisely similar". The site is crowned by a modern cross on a large plinth. Monument restored by the Dartmoor Preservation Association in around 1890 (20/9/1975).

Starkey, F. H., 1983, Dartmoor Crosses and Some Ancient Tracks, 36-7 (Monograph). SDV345128.

Hemery, E., 1983, High Dartmoor, 344, 359-61 (Monograph). SDV249702.

Masson Phillips, E. N., 1984, Supplementary Notes on the Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon (Seventh Paper), 144-145 (Article in Serial). SDV345276.

If Childe was the 11th century Ordulf II of Tavistock (Citing Finberg) then the cross was a posthumous memorial and the "tomb" was in fact a cenotaph.

Butler, J., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East, 218-20, Map 64, Figure 64.2 (Monograph). SDV337765.

The cairn known as 'Childe's Tomb' has been 'Christianised' by the addition of a cross to its summit. It stands in line with other crosses to the east and west once marking the ancient 'Monks Path' across this part of the moor. The cross stood undisturbed until about 1812 when the stones were appropriated for use as door stops and a bridge for Fox Tor farm. The cross itself has disappeared and its present replacement was manufactured in 1885 and clumsily perched over the cist.

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

Cross shown on survey slightly to the south-west at SX62497028.

National Monuments Record, 2020, Pastscape, 443322, SX67SW31 (Website). SDV363416.

Site visited on 15th June 1950. Cist is visible. The actual kistvaen itself is not accessible, the pedestal of the above described stone cross completely covering the same.
Childe's Tomb cross on cairn and cist at SX 62577029.
A cross, standing in this vicinity in the 17th century could not be found by Crossing. The present cross was erected about 1910. It is said to now include some original material and stands in its original position. The cross is erected in a square socket stone on a rough pedestal with
chamferred top edges. A broken socket stone lies close by. The cross allegedly commemorates Childe, a local folk lore character who supposedly froze to death on the moors in the reign
of Edward III (1327-1377). ("Childe" is now inexplicably ascribed to the cist).
Field Investigation on 12th August 1977. The remains of a cairn containing a cist, known as Childe's Tomb, situated on a north-facing slope west of the River Swincombe at 365 metres OD. A restored cross, set in a socket stone, has been mounted on a pedestal, over the cist.
It has been suggested by Crossing and by some recent writers that the head of the original cross on Childe's Tomb might be that which for a time, lay at the foot of the standing cross in Fox Tor Newtake. It later disappeared but photographs show it to have been of the usual Dartmoor type of roughly rectangular section, and consequently of an earlier period than the surviving fragment of the original socket-stone which lies near the restored monument. This indicates that the missing cross from Childe's Tomb would have been of octagonal section. If, as Finberg has shown, Childe was the 11th century Ordulf II of Tavistock, then the cross was a postumous, not a contemporary, memorial and the so-called tomb was in fact a cenotaph.
Field Investigation on 8th June 1988. At SX 62577029 is a much disturbed cairn. At the centre is a disturbed cist and over this is a two tier pedestal of eight well trimmed blocks, of three different lengths; a further half buried block lies south of the monumenet. Upon this is a replacement socket stone and cross, cut at Holne in 1885 with a total height of 1.4 metres. Near a large block, 5 metres east of the cairn, is the broken socket stone of the original cross.

Ordnance Survey, 2021, MasterMap 2021 (Cartographic). SDV364015.

'Childe's Tomb (remains of) Cross on (Cairn and Cist)' depicted on the modern mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV169268Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4389.
SDV178385Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1902. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor. Unknown. 88-95.
SDV240502Article in Serial: Masson Phillips, E. N.. 1937. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 69. A5 Hardback. 309-10.
SDV249702Monograph: Hemery, E.. 1983. High Dartmoor. High Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 344, 359-61.
SDV250997Monograph: Breton, H. H.. 1912. Beautiful Dartmoor III. Southern Quarter. Beautiful Dartmoor III. Southern Quarter. Unknown. 19-20.
SDV250998Report - Survey: Fox, A.. 1969. Swincombe Survey. Unknown. 48, 9.
SDV259009Article in Serial: Finberg, H. P. R.. 1946. Childe's tomb. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 78. 265-80.
SDV261792Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1887. Ancient Crosses of Dartmoor. Ancient Crosses of Dartmoor. Unknown. 60-1.
SDV268135Unknown: Carrington, N. T.. 1826. Dartmoor, a descriptive poem, vignette. Unknown.
SDV268143Monograph: Brown, T.. 1954. The Dartmoor Legend of Mr Child. The Dartmoor Legend of Mr Child. Unknown.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 153.
SDV320981Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1912 (1965). Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 108-9.
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. 218-20, Map 64, Figure 64.2.
SDV345128Monograph: Starkey, F. H.. 1983. Dartmoor Crosses and Some Ancient Tracks. Dartmoor Crosses and Some Ancient Tracks. Paperback Volume. 36-7.
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. 144-145.
SDV345855Report - Survey: English Heritage. 2005. Survey Information (miscellaneous date). English Heritage. Digital.
SDV351522Monograph: Hoskins, W.G. + Finberg, H.P.R.. 1952. Devonshire Studies. Devonshire Studies. 40-58.
SDV363416Website: National Monuments Record. 2020. Pastscape. https://www.pastscape.org.uk/. Website. 443322, SX67SW31.
SDV364015Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap 2021. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #129213 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV48907Related to: Childe's Tomb cairn and cist, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV6301Related to: Stone cross east-north-east of Childe's Tomb (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8630 - Fox Tor Newtake Duchy Farms Survey

Date Last Edited:Mar 14 2021 10:19AM