cross sits, as a coping stone, over the left-hand (looking from inside the
churchyard) gatepost at the southern entrance to the churchyard.
O/S Grid Ref: SX/72062/73118 Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-): -3.80698/50.54379
Map location: Click here to view map.
Purpose: This was probably once the Buckland Village Cross.
Size: The remaining part of the shaft and head is 1 foot 8 inches (0.51 metres) long and 1 foot 10 inches (0.56 metres) across the arms. The head and arms are 11 inches (0.28 metres) in width and 7 inches (0.18 metres) thick.
Information: Only the upper portion of the octagonal shaft, head and one arm of this cross is to be found. Unfortunately, the cross has now become overgrown with ivy and is not easily seen. The thumbnail, to the left, shows the cross as it was, viewed from above, some years ago before the ivy took hold.
Prior to the building of its church in the 12th century, the hamlet (as it was) of Buckland used to form part of the Torre Abbey estate. This cross, would more than likely have been erected in a prominent position near to where the church now stands and have been used as a preaching post by the monks from the Abbey.
Just outside the South Gate, in front of Church Cottage, is what was once perhaps the pedestal of this cross. Built of granite stones, many covered in moss, it now surrounds a tree which according to a commemorative stone was planted in 1935 to mark the 26th year of the reign of King George V. In Crossing's time a sycamore tree was standing in the centre of this pedestal, which he assumed from its size to have stood there for some considerable time.
The 12th century church, dedicated to St Peter, has an interesting clock face on both the north-east and south-west faces of its tower. Instead of the usual numbers, it is inscribed with the letters which read ‘MY DEAR MOTHER’. This was arranged by a former Lord of the Manor, Mr William Whitley, as a memorial to his mother. It is also said that a chime attached to the church bells ring out the tune of a children’s hymn. Internally, the church has a beautifully painted rood screen and an ornately carved wooden staircase leading to the roof loft.
In 1928, it was William Whitley who arranged for the Ten Commandments to be cut into the two large stones on the summit of Buckland Beacon. He did this to celebrate the rejection by parliament of the proposed new book of common prayer and appointed stonemason Mr W. A. Clement to undertake the work. The work was started on 23rd July 1928 and finished by August of the same year. Mr Clement, who came from Exmouth, is reputed to have lived on site in a shepherds hut in order to complete the work which consisted of cutting over 1500 letters into the hard moorland stone. Made up of two tablets of natural granite, the monument displays the commandments, a favourite saying of Mr Whitley’s and the dates when the Bill was read out in parliament.
Over the years, the stones have suffered quite severely from erosion by the moorland weather, resulting in the words becoming hardly legible. Thanks to a Parishscapes grant and funding from the Dartmoor Communities Fund, the community of Buckland-in-the-Moor have been able to restore the stone monument in two phases. The first phase, completed in late May 2017, saw the stones cleaned and wrapped in preparation for the restoration work to commence. The second phase of the process saw further careful cleaning before some of the lettering was re-carved to bring it back to legibility. Finally, the lettering was painted with a specially designed black paint suitable for use at high altitude and exposed weather conditions. The work was completed in July 2017, having been carried out by Bath-based conservator and lettering expert Iain Cotton and his team. Now that the work is complete, the site will be monitored by National Park Archaeologists and any deterioration will be managed by the National Park Authority’s Conservation Works Team.