Crazywell Farm Cross

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LocationThe northernmost of two gate posts, 15 yards to the west of the Crazywell Farmhouse.

O/S Grid Ref:  SX/58086/70057       Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-):  -4.00294/50.51305 

Map location:  Click here to view map.

Purpose: Most probably it was originally a waymarker for a local track across the moor, possibly the Monk's Path.

Size: The cross shaft measures 3 feet 2 inches (0.97 metres) high, 12 inches (0.31 metres) wide and 10 inches (0.25 metres) in depth.

 Information:  This stone, which has a slight taper, is in position as the northernmost of two gateposts to a field leading in to the, now abandoned,  Crazywell Farm.  Although it is a well-worked stone, we are not absolutely sure whether it was a cross shaft, a door or window lintel or, possibly, a crazywell_gateposts.jpg (139609 bytes)cross shaft which has been repurposed as a lintel at the farm.  Information on the stone is very hard to come by, but it has been recognised as a 'possible' cross shaft by the Devon & Dartmoor Heritage (ref: MDV5207) website in the text of their entry for the Crazywell Farm. 

If it is, indeed, a cross shaft, it is not known where the cross would originally have stood but, as it is quite close to the route of the Monk's Path, which is the ancient name given to the track that links the Buckfast Abbey with those at Tavistock and Buckland, it would quite likely have been a waymarker for that route.  This would link in with the two other nearby crosses, Crazywell and Newleycombe, which were also waymarkers for the Monk's Path.  There is, of course, the possibility that this was the original shaft of the Crazywell shaft which, with the head removed, was put to another purpose at the farm.  A small hole, 1 inches (32 mm) in diameter and 1 inch (25 mm) deep, has been drilled into the top of the stone.  Although the purpose of this hole is unknown, it has been suggested that it could have been used in connection with attaching the cross head to the top of the shaft.  

The south-facing Crazywell Farm is situated just below the bridleway which runs from Peat Cot/Nun's Cross to Leather Tor Bridge.  It is currently hidden from the track by a row of gorse, but it is well worth the effort of finding a way through the gorse to seek the farm out.  The walls of the farmhouse are now quite low to the ground, but there is a nice granite lintel still in place over the entrance doorway.  The building was originally a medieval longhouse, measuring 28 feet long by 12 feet wide.  There are also a few crazywell_door_lintel.jpg (157375 bytes)outbuildings, including a cow shippen, all in a similar state to the house.   The farm, which was the smallest in the area, dates from the medieval period and although there are no early records of the farm, the records that do exist show that it was a working farm between 1585 and 1839.  However, by the year 1900 it had been abandoned and absorbed into the nearby Kingsett Farm.  Kingsett Farm itself was abandoned early in the 1900's, when the Burrator Reservoir was extended, to avoid any contamination to the water supply as the farm fell within the water catchment area.

Within the confines of the farmyard there is a stone which is believed to be an unfinished quern.  The stone has a hole drilled into the top but it appears as though when the mason tried to widen the diameter of the hole, a large piece of the stone broke away from the face making it unfit to continue and it was abandoned.  A quern was a stone with a wide, but shallow, hole or dip in the upper surface into which would be put some grain and where a second stone would be used grind the grain down into flour.  This would only havecrazywell_quern.jpg (214785 bytes) been used on a domestic crazywell_sheep_creep.jpg (182525 bytes)level as large quantities of grain would have been sent to a commercial mill for processing.  

Further to the west, there are two fine examples of a sheep creep set into the base of the boundary wall.  These are low square openings in the wall which were big enough to allow sheep to pass through, but small enough to prevent larger animals, like cows, from leaving the field.  

Our thanks to Bob Noakes and Nigel Machin for bringing this cross to our attention.