Browse crosses

Palston Cross at Buckfast AbbeyLocationIn the centre of a lawn, to the right on entry to the grounds from the car park and and a few yards to the East of the ex Moorshop Cross.

O/S Grid Ref:  SX/74082/67426          Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-):  -3.77657/50.49306

Map location:  Click here to view map.

Purpose:  It was probably used in its original position as a waymarker.

Size:  3 feet 3 inches (1.00 metres) tall. 1 foot 9 inches (0.53 metres) across the arms. The shaft is 10 inches (0.25 metres) deep.

Information:  This is a most unusually shaped cross, especially as the shaft has not been trimmed to a uniform width for the whole of its length. For the bottom 19 inches (0.45 m) the shaft extends to almost the full width of the arms. Whereas, the upper portion of the shaft is only about half the width of the arms.

A Maltese Cross is inscribed on both faces, of the following measurements:

  • Abbey Side:  2 feet 4 inches (0.71 m) high, 15 inches (0.38 m) across the arms and 4 inches (0.10 m) wide.

  • Opposite side: 1 foot 11 inches (0.58 m) high, 13 inches (0.33 m) across the arms and 3 inches (0.08 m) wide.

The cross was found at the entrance to Great Palston Farm, on the outskirts of South Brent, in about 1942. Here, it was found buried beneath the ground and the head had been broken away from the shaft. It is thought that it originally stood at Stidson Cross, about ¾ mile from from the farm. Thankfully, it was restored to its former glory and is one of two crosses that were taken to Buckfast Abbey for safe keeping. The other being the cross which is thought to have formerly stood at the Moorshop Crossroads, to the east of Tavistock.

Buckfast Abbey was originally founded in 1018 on a site which was originally known as ‘Bulfestra’. The Abbey stood until 1539, when it was destroyed under the suppression of the Catholic faith during the reign of Henry VIII. It is now home to a Roman Catholic community of Benedictine Monks, who were expelled from France and took up residence here in 1882. The Abbey church was rebuilt by the monks themselves, on the foundations of the original church.

The Abbey is run as a self-sufficient business and its activities include tourism, stained-glass window making and beekeeping, with the sale of its honey. However, the most well-known product must be the Buckfast Tonic Wine, which seems to go down particularly well in Scotland for some reason! The Abbey now receives almost half a million visitors a year to view its splendid church and grounds.