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HER Number:MDV8253
Name:Shorter Cross 350 metres north-west of Middlecott, Chagford

Summary

Shorter Cross is a well preserved and highly unusual example of a Dartmoor wayside cross. It is likely to be at least early medieval in date, and may have prehistoric origins. Coffin-shaped wayside cross formed from a single piece of moderately coarse granite. The south-west face has a cross carved on it in relief and on the north-east face, there is an incised cross near the top of the shaft.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 713 864
Map Sheet:SX78NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishChagford
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCHAGFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX78NW/23
  • Old SAM Ref: 24825

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WAYSIDE CROSS (VI to Early Medieval - 600 AD? to 1399 AD (Between))

Full description

Unknown, Cross measurements (Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry). SDV259016.

Shorter Cross (height 1.8 metres, thick 216 millimetres, section (length 0.4 metres, width 0.2 metres), incised cross (height 76 millimetres, width 76 millimetres), incised cross (height 457 millimetres, width 330 millimetres).


Crossing, W., 1892, Old Stone Crosses of the Dartmoor Border, 120 (Monograph). SDV279564.

Moved in 1873 to Middle Middlecott Farm and buried under pump in farmyard at rear of house.


Thornton, W. H., 1900-1901, Some Notes on the More Recent History of a Few Ancient Crosses Which Are to be Found in the Neighbourhood of North Bovey, 67-68 plate 9 (Article in Serial). SDV259023.

Shorter Cross is located on Week Down, midway between Chagford and North Bovey, near to another cross. According to the author, 20 years ago the occupier at Middlecote took down Shorter Cross and using it for a cover-stone for a well, had buried it deeply and securely underground. Thornton remonstrated long and hard and at the expense of Major Yolland, R. E., who owned land in the neighbourhood of Week Down, the cross was 'recently disinterred and is again filling the site which for so many centuries it occupied and adorned.'


Crossing, W., 1902-1903, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor and its Borderland, 139 (Article in Serial). SDV302059.

In 1900 the cross was re-erected in original situation.


Masson Phillips, E. N., 1937, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I, 342 (Article in Serial). SDV240502.

Perhaps an early Christian monument, 7th - 9th century. A granite monolith of rectangular section. Displays well-marked entasis. The principal face bears at the top a Latin cross in low relief. Stands on the grassy verge of the road on the left of the steep hill from Week Down to Middlecott. Said to be its original site, but it has been moved and replaced. At the centre of the intersection of the arms and shaft is an incised cross. The other face bears a simple incised Latin cross across the arms placed somewhat eccentrically (Assumed to be Masson Phillips; unattributed source reference).


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953, SX78NW25 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV259022.

19/3/1953 Pillar of rectangular section. Cross appears to be complete.


Masson Phillips, E. N., 1959, Supplementary Notes on the Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon (Fifth Paper), 84-85 (Article in Serial). SDV21157.


Ancient Monuments, 1993, Shorter Cross: a wayside cross on the north side of a minor road, 350m north west of Middlecott (Schedule Document). SDV259017.

Shorter Cross. Well preserved coffin-shaped wayside cross formed from a single piece of moderately coarse granite. The shaft tapers to a head with a flat top. This cross has no arms, and there is no indication that it ever had any. It is set on a grass and scrub verge on the ne side of a lane leading from Middlecott to Week Down and Chagford. The cross is 2.5 metres from the edge of the tarmac road. Moved from this position in 1873 it was relocated here in 1900.
The long side of the cross is oriented north-west by south-east. Its maximum visible height is 1.7 metres. The shaft is at its widest about two-thirds of the way up the stone. The greatest dimensions of the shaft are 0.45 metres by 0.27 metres.
The south-west face has on it a cross carved in relief extending 0.54 metres down from the very top of the shaft. The arms of the relief cross extend 0.39 metres right across the width of the shaft. In other words, 4 'panels' have been removed from the upper portion of the shaft on this face. The lower panels measure 0.25 metres by 0.13 metres by 5 millimetres deep and the upper panels 0.16 metres by 0.12 metres by 5 millimetres deep. The ends of the relief cross are slightly splayed, to a maximum of 0.14 metres.
Between the arms of the relief cross a small incised cross has been cut, measuring 120 millimetres horizontally by 110 millimetres vertically, the cut being 10 millimetres wide and 2 millimetres deep.
On the north-east face, there is an incised cross near the top of the shaft. It measures 0.39 metres vertically by 0.34 metres horizontally. The cut is 20 millimetres wide and has a maximum depth of 6 millimetres. The arms of the incised cross extend right across the width of the shaft. The bottom of the incised cross is 0.44 metres below the top of the shaft.
The flat head of the shaft is approximately square in section, measuring 0.25 metres by 0.26 metres. A groove, perhaps caused by erosion, runs across the centre of the head and down both north-west and south-east sides for about 0.3 metres. This groove is mostly 20 - 30 millimetres wide and 10 millimetres deep.
Besides being on the road verge, the cross is sited on the top edge of a scarp that falls away to the north-east to what appears to be an old sunken lane bordered by a wall on its far side, and running downslope in a south-easterly direction. This may be the original route beside which the cross was first set up. However, the unusual shape of this cross, and its lack of conventional head and arms suggest that it is at least an early medieval example, and may represent a Christianised prehistoric standing stone.


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

Cross is depicted on the modern mapping.


Historic England, 2016, National Heritage List for England, Accessed 28/06/2016 (National Heritage List for England). SDV359353.

Shorter Cross is a well preserved and highly unusual example of a Dartmoor wayside cross. It is likely to be at least early medieval in date, and may have prehistoric origins.
The monument includes a well preserved coffin-shaped wayside cross formed from a single piece of moderately coarse granite. The shaft tapers to a head with a flat top. This cross has no arms, and there is no indication that it ever had any. It is set on a grass and scrub verge on the north east side of a lane leading from Middlecott to Week Down and Chagford. The cross is 2.5m from the edge of the tarmac road.
Moved from this position in 1873 it was relocated here in 1900. The long side of the cross is orientated north west-south east. Its maximum visible height is 1.7m. The shaft is at its widest about two-thirds of the way up the stone. The greatest dimensions of the shaft are 0.45m by 0.27m. The south west face has on it a cross carved in relief extending 0.54m down from the very top of the shaft. The arms of the relief cross extend 0.39m right across the width of the shaft. In other words, four `panels' have been removed from the upper portion of the shaft on this face. The lower panels measure 0.25m by 0.13m by 5mm deep, and the upper panels 0.16m by 0.12m by 5mm deep. The ends of the relief cross are slightly splayed, to a maximum of 0.14m. Between the arms of the relief cross a small incised cross has been cut, measuring 120mm horizontally by 110mm vertically, the cut being 10mm wide and 2mm deep. On the north east face, there is an incised cross near the top of the shaft. It measures 0.39m vertically by 0.34m horizontally. The cut is 20mm wide and has a maximum depth of 6mm. The arms of the incised cross extend right across the width of the shaft. The bottom of the incised cross is 0.44m below the top of the shaft. The flat head of the shaft is approximately square in section, measuring 0.25m by 0.26m. A groove, perhaps caused by erosion, runs across the centre of the head and down both north west and south east sides for about 0.3m. This groove is mostly 20mm-30mm wide and 10mm deep.
Besides being on the road verge, the cross is sited on the top edge of a scarp that falls away to the north east to what appears to be an old sunken lane bordered by a wall on its far side, and running downslope in a south easterly direction. This may be the original route beside which the cross was first set up. However, the unusual shape of this cross, and its lack of conventional head and arms suggest that it is at least an early medieval example, and may represent a Christianised prehistoric standing stone.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV21157Article in Serial: Masson Phillips, E. N.. 1959. Supplementary Notes on the Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon (Fifth Paper). Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 91. A5 Hardback. 84-85.
SDV240502Article in Serial: Masson Phillips, E. N.. 1937. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 69. A5 Hardback. 342.
SDV259016Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry: Unknown. Cross measurements. Unknown.
SDV259017Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. 1993. Shorter Cross: a wayside cross on the north side of a minor road, 350m north west of Middlecott. The Schedule of Monuments. Unknown.
SDV259022Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953. SX78NW25. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV259023Article in Serial: Thornton, W. H.. 1900-1901. Some Notes on the More Recent History of a Few Ancient Crosses Which Are to be Found in the Neighbourhood of North Bovey. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 1. Digital. 67-68 plate 9.
SDV279564Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1892. Old Stone Crosses of the Dartmoor Border. Old stone crosses of the Dartmoor border. Unknown. 120.
SDV302059Article in Serial: Crossing, W.. 1902-1903. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor and its Borderland. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 2. Unknown. 139.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #49731 ]
SDV359353National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2016. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. Accessed 28/06/2016.

Associated Monuments

MDV8229Related to: Week Down Cross, Chagford (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Jul 18 2016 12:34PM