Location: Incised into the south west facing rock on the main stack
of Middle Pupers.
O/S Grid Ref: SX/67287/67370
Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-): -3.87229/50.49106
Map location: Click
to view map.
Purpose: A Christogram incised into the rock face.
Size: The cross measures 2 inches (5 Centimetres) in height and 2 inches (5
Centimetres) across the width of its arms.
the south west face of the main rock at Middle Pupers, and partly hidden
by an overhung rock above, is the inscription 'IHS' with an incised cross
above the letter 'H'.
In the ancient world of medieval Western Europe this was a Christogram,
with the letters, Iota (I), Eta (H) and Sigma (S) representing the first
three letters of 'Jesus' in the Greek alphabet. Another
interpretation was that the three letters stand for 'Iesus Hominum
Salvator' (Jesus, Saviour of Men) in Latin, but this has since proved
to be inaccurate. The Latin symbol now has a 'V' below the IHS to
represent 'In Hoc Signo Vinces' interpreted as: 'In This Sign You Will
Conquer'. The symbol, in one form or other, has been used throughout the
Latin speaking world since the seventh century and the first use of it in
an English document dates from the fourteenth century.
The cross above the 'H' forms an
integral part of the symbol.
The word 'Pupers' is believed to have derived from 'Pipers'. An
ancient Dartmoor tradition has it that where people people were caught
dancing or playing music on a Sunday they would be turned to stone. Three
dancers were supposedly caught on Puper's Hill and now form the rocks of
Outer, Middle and Inner Pupers. The Piper was also caught and he
was turned into the Boundary Stone we now know as Kit's Stone or Little
Man (Grid Ref: SX677/671). This tradition, of turning revellers
into stone on the Sabbath, also applies to the Dancers and the Nine
Maidens Stone Circles.