On the North side of the old A30,
about one mile to the West of Sticklepath, at the junction of the lane
that leads to Bude Farm.
O/S Grid Ref:
Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-): -3.94069/50.73639
Map location: Click
to view map.
stone is 4 feet 1 inch (1.25 metres) tall, 1 foot 4 inches (0.41 metres)
wide at the bottom, tapering to 10 inches (0.26 metres) at the top. 7˝
inches (0.19 metres) in depth.
This is one of two stones in the
Sticklepath area that are thought to be Saxon Crosses, of a similar style
to that of the Sourton Green Cross. The other is the
Sticklepath (Ladywell) Cross, which is situated nearer to the centre of the
village. Both are currently acting as boundary markers for the village.
This stone appears to be undamaged except at the top, which is irregular
and shows signs of having been broken off relatively recently.
markings on this cross are not as clear as those on the Sourton Green
Cross. The only ones that are clearly visible are on the Southern,
roadside, face. Here, a seven pointed asterisk shape is incised about half
way down the stone. There is another line lower down on this face, but I
couldn’t, at first, determine its significance.
Research shows that,
originally, there were markings on three faces of this cross but, with the
exception of those set out above, they appear to have weathered or faded
away over the years. The original markings on each face were described as
originally contained the clearest engravings, which extended from
the top to the bottom of the stone. Starting from the top, there was
a circle 1˝ inches in diameter, of which the upper arc was missing
due to a previous fracture of the top of the stone. This was
followed by another circle of the same size and a third circle, this
latter being rather larger at 11 inches in diameter. At the bottom
was a St. Andrew’s Cross, the arms of which used the full width of
the face and with the shaft reaching almost to the base of the
||This showed a
number of lines with a faint resemblance to an imperfect human
figure, with a halo around its head. This consisted of a segment of
a circle, convex surface uppermost, towards the top of the stone
(halo). A few inches below this was a circle of 5 inches in diameter
(head), followed by an oval (body), 7 inches long and with the upper
portion obliterated. Two waved lines (legs) appeared from the bottom
of the oval, similar in shape but a mirror image of each other.
These both terminated at each edge of the stone, about 12 inches
above the ground.
||No markings were
recorded for the top half of the stone. The lower half had three
semicircles, with the curved sides adjacent to and equidistant from
each other; Two side by side and the third above.
||No markings were
recorded for this face. It is not known if it has always been plain
or if there were some markings, which had already faded away before
the significance of this stone was realised.
|Taking the above description into account
and the clarity of the incised asterisk, it is now obvious this must be a fairly
recent addition to the stone. However, the lower line that can be seen on the
same face may well be part of one of the semicircles described above.
Mr Spence Bate recorded in 1874 that the stone was 4 feet 6 inches high and that it had been broken off at the top. My
measurement is now 4 feet 1 inch, some 5 inches shorter, and the top shows signs of a relatively recent fracture.
This would indicate that it has been further damaged within the last 125 years.
Ruth St. Leger-Gordon, in her book 'The Witchcraft and Folklore of
Dartmoor', refers to this stone as a menhir with the name of 'Honest
Man'. She goes on to two proffer two legends as to how the stone
might have acquired it's name. The first was that in the old
days a sailor was following the Mariner's Way in order that he might
find work on a ship in North Devon when he stopped for refreshment at
the Sticklepath inn. Setting off on his journey again, and
suffering somewhat from his drink, he became disorientated after
ascending the hill outside the village. Peering around in the
darkness, he saw what he thought was a figure ahead and ran up and
embraced it as his saviour, asking 'Be you an honest man?', and so the
stone was named.
The other legend relates how a traveller was set upon by highwaymen
at this spot and relieved of his purse. Fortunately for him, at
the very same moment a good Samaritan rode up on his horse, retrieved
his purse, saw off the thieves and rendered first aid to him.
The unknown good Samaritan then just rode off without revealing his
identity. The grateful traveller decided that he would erect
this stone on the spot in commemoration of 'so honest a man'.