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HER Number:MDV8726
Name:Watching Place Cross (Beetor Cross)

Summary

Medieval wayside granite cross cemented to a granite socket stone. The original location of the cross was a short distance to the north, at a point now occupied by Beetor Cross (scheduled separately). Arms are very stumpy, aligned north-west by south-east. The head of the cross is also very short, but both head and arms are likely to be showing more or less their original dimensions. Cross is highly visible on a major route across Dartmoor and is well-preserved. Its primitive style, with very stumpy arms, indicates that it may possibly be a Christianised prehistoric standing stone.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 712 841
Map Sheet:SX78SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishNorth Bovey
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishNORTH BOVEY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX78SW/11
  • Old SAM County Ref: 359
  • Old SAM Ref: 24827

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • WAYSIDE CROSS (Early Bronze Age to Early Medieval - 2200 BC? to 1399 AD (Between))

Full description

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, 65, 68 (Article in Serial). SDV259023.


Thornton, W. H., 1910-1911, The Plague at North Bovey, 199-200 (Article in Serial). SDV350877.

The cross, having served as a gatepost, was rescued by members of the Teign Naturalists' Field Club. It may have indicated the trackway to Tavistock before the road was cut.


Masson Phillips, E. N., 1937, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I, 329 (Article in Serial). SDV240502.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1952-1953, SX78SW26 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV302996.

Watching Place Cross (Beetor Cross) (height 1.5 metres) arms (length 406 millimetres). On a roadside bank at the junction of the Chagford road with the Princetown-Moretonhampstead highway.
Type A. A cross of rough rectangular section, much damaged, part of head and of one arm missing, erected on a rough square socket-stone. On the face, between the arms, is an incised cross (cross-crosslet?). (Citing Masson Phillips, 1937)
There is a tradition that a cross which formerly stood at Beetor place, in the parish of North Bovey, was erected to mark the ground on which the moorland Christian British awaited the onslaught of their Saxon invaders, and on which a battle was fought. It was known as Beetor Cross, and was taken down by a land- owner to be converted into a gatepost about a quarter of a century ago. It was of plain construction, rudely cut from a granite block. The arms are slightly damaged (16/3/1953).


Ancient Monuments, 1993, Watching Place Cross (Beetor Cross) (Schedule Document). SDV302992.

Watching Place Cross. A Medieval wayside cross formed from a single piece of moderately coarse granite, which is cemented to a granite socket stone. It is set on the top of a hedge bank at the point where the B3212 Moretonhampstead to Princetown road joins the B3344, known as Long Lane. The original location of the cross was a short distance to the north, at a point now occupied by Beetor Cross.
The arms of the cross, which are very stumpy, are aligned approximately north-west by south-east. The head of the cross is also very short, but both head and arms are likely to be showing more or less their original dimensions. The north-east face of the shaft has a bulge, giving it maximum dimensions of 0.4 metres by 0.3 metres. Without the bulge the shaft is approximately square in section, measuring 0.33 metres by 0.3 metres.
The height of the cross is 1.44 metres. The total width across the arms is 0.38 metres. The south-east arm extends 0.08 metres from the shaft and has a depth of 0.26 metres. The north-west arm, which has been broken off at its western corner, extends a maximum of 0.11 metres from the shaft, and has a depth of 0.25 metres. The head, which has a width of 0.19 metres on its south-western face, extends only 85 millimetres above the arms.
On the south-western face of the shaft, between the arms, there is an incised cross, obscured by lichens. It measures approximately 0.2 metres by 0.2 metres, with the cut being 25 millimetres wide and 5 millimetres deep.
The socket stone has dimensions of 0.8 metres (south-east) by 0.6 metres (north-east) by 0.9 metres (north-west) by 0.9 metres (south-west). Its north-west edge is broken away. No drill marks were noticed on the stone. The maximum depth of the socket stone is 0.33 metres. The cross shaft appears to rest on the socket to which it is attached with cement. This suggests that the cross and socket did not originally belong together. An iron clamp at the base of the north-western face of the shaft secures the shaft to the socket stone. The clamp extends 0.15 metres up the shaft. An iron wedge is visible at the base of the shaft on its south-east side.
The cross was restored to this position in 1899 having been in use as a gatepost in an adjoining field for some years before.
Broken metal plugs fill two holes on the south-western face of the shaft between 50 millimetres and 120 millimetres below the arms.
The primitive style of this cross, with its short head and arms, makes it a candidate for being a Christianised prehistoric standing stone.


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

'Watching Place Cross' is depicted on the modern mapping.


Historic England, 2016, National Heritage List for England, Accessed 19/07/2016 (National Heritage List for England). SDV359353.

The monument includes a medieval wayside cross formed from a single piece of moderately coarse granite, which is cemented to a granite socket stone. It is set on the top of a hedge bank at the point where the B3212 Moretonhampstead-Princetown road joins the B3344, a road which is known as Long Lane.
The original location of the cross was a short distance to the north, at a point now occupied by Beetor Cross. This area is the subject of a separate scheduling. The arms of the cross, which are very stumpy, are aligned approximately north west-south east. The head of the cross is also very short, but both head and arms are likely to be showing more or less their original dimensions. The north east face of the shaft has a bulge, giving it maximum dimensions of 0.4m by 0.3m. Without the bulge the shaft is approximately square in section, measuring 0.33m by 0.3m. The height of the cross is 1.44m. The total width across the arms is 0.38m. The south east arm extends 0.08m from the shaft and has a depth of 0.26m. The north west arm, which has been broken off at its western corner, extends a maximum of 0.11m from the shaft, and has a depth of 0.25m. The head, which has a width of 0.19m on its south west face, extends only 85mm above the arms.
On the south west face of the shaft, between the arms, there is an incised cross, obscured by lichens. It measures approximately 0.2m by 0.2m, with the cut being 25mm wide and 5mm deep.
The socket stone has dimensions of 0.8m (south east) by 0.6m (north east) by 0.9m (north west) by 0.9m (south west). Its north west edge is broken away. No drill marks were noticed on the stone. The maximum depth of the socket stone is 0.33m. The cross shaft appears to rest on the socket to which it is attached with cement. This suggests that the cross and socket did not originally belong together. An iron clamp at the base of the north west face of the shaft secures the shaft to the socket stone. The clamp extends 0.15m up the shaft. An iron wedge is visible at the base of the shaft on its south east side.
The cross was restored to this position in 1899 having been in use as a gatepost in an adjoining field for some years before. Broken metal plugs fill two holes on the south west face of the shaft between 50mm and 120mm below the arms. The primitive style of this cross, with its short head and arms, makes it a candidate for being a Christianised prehistoric standing stone.
Watching Place Cross is a highly visible medieval cross on a major route across Dartmoor. It is well preserved. Its primitive style, with very stumpy arms, indicates that it may possibly be a Christianised prehistoric standing stone.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV240502Article in Serial: Masson Phillips, E. N.. 1937. The Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon: Part I. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 69. A5 Hardback. 329.
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. 65, 68.
SDV302992Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. 1993. Watching Place Cross (Beetor Cross). The Schedule of Monuments. Unknown.
SDV302996Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1952-1953. SX78SW26. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV350877Article in Serial: Thornton, W. H.. 1910-1911. The Plague at North Bovey. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 6. Unknown. 199-200.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #108806 ]
SDV359353National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2016. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. Accessed 19/07/2016.

Associated Monuments

MDV8727Related to: Beetor Cross 230 metres south-east of Beetor (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Jul 19 2016 9:28AM