On Ridding Down, by the
side of the road from Shaugh Prior to Cornwood, opposite the entrance to
the lane leading to Cholwich Town Farm.
Grid Ref: 586 612 Map location: Click here to view map.
Purpose: Waymarker on the ancient route from Tavistock to Ivybridge.
Size: 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 metres) tall. 1 foot 3 inches (0.38 metres) across the shaft and the remains of the arms. The base of the shaft measures 14 inches (0.36 metres) wide and 16 inches (0.41 metres) deep.
Information: This very rugged cross has spent a good many years in service as a gatepost. In fact, two gate hangers are still in position on the moorland face of the cross as a stark reminder of its former use. Just above the bottom of the two hangers there is a large hole, which measures 3 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep. I have not been able to find the reason for this hole and can only think that it was being drilled for a gate hanger, when it went wrong in some way.
The arms of the cross are offset, in that one is higher up the shaft than the other. This makes me think that the cross has been made from a block of granite that started out in the rough shape of a cross, rather than being crafted from a plain rectangular block. Unfortunately, both arms have now been knocked off, almost back to the shaft, probably due to its secondary use as a gatepost.
The cross was discovered by the Revd. W.C. Luke and Mr J.D. Pode, whilst it was in use as a gatepost. Harry Starkey records that it was rescued from the gateway and set up in its current position in 1969. It is thought that the cross originally stood about ½ mile to the south east of its current position, at the place now known as Quick Bridge. Here it would have guided the traveller to the point where the track crossed the water by way of a ford.
Right beside this cross is a short length of shaft from another, unfinished, cross. This piece of shaft measures 16inches (0.41 metres) high, 9 inches (0.23 metres) wide and 5 inches (0.13 metres) deep. This is obviously more recent in design, having chamfered edges, and is probably the remains a cross that was damaged in the making and subsequently abandoned.
Cholwich Town Farm is an ancient manor about ½ mile to the north of the cross. It was originally occupied by the Cholwich family, the last member of which, it is rumoured, died whilst being detained in prison. The outside walls of the manor house have now been plastered, covering up the original stonework, but the granite-arched doorways and mullioned windows can still be seen. Many of the original outbuildings have fallen into decay and have been replaced. The remains of the family chapel can also still be found on the site.