In the Down St. Mary Churchyard, 12 metres west of the
O/S Grid Ref: SS/74272/04462
Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-): -3.78648/50.82600
to view map.
Purpose: Probable wayside cross.
Size: The cross is 5 feet 9 inches (1.75
metres) tall and measures 23 inches (0.58 metres) across the
arms. The shaft is 12 inches (0.30 metres) wide and 8 inches
(0.20 metres) deep. The socket stone, measured at the base, is 2
feet 3 inches (0.68 metres) square and 12 inches (0.31 metres)
Information: You might be wondering at
this point what a cross in the Down St. Mary Churchyard has to do with
a website of Dartmoor Crosses? Well, like
so many of the Dartmoor Crosses, this one has had a very chequered
history. I first came across a reference to it when reading the
book 'An Exploration of Dartmoor Antiquities 1892' by John Chudleigh.
On page 79 he mentions walking through Murchington where there was an
old cross placed against the garden wall of the Rectory. On the
previous page, he provided a sketch of the cross, as it was
then. Prior to this, it seems as though it had been found being
used as a paving stone near the village of Bow. On the death of
the vicar of Murchington, it was removed from the Rectory garden, by
the Right Reverend Kestall-Cornish, rector of Down St. Mary, and
re-erected in it's current position. This would have been at
some time during the period 1897 to 1909.
The shaft is square at the base and chamfered on all
four edges above, as are the arms. The arms are asymmetrical,
with the southern arm having been badly damaged at some point.
Although the cross is of medieval origin, the socket is relatively
modern and was probably made when the cross was moved to its current
position. The socket is square, with round chamfers on the
corners and with the top being cut into an octagonal shape.
The cross has now been scheduled under the Ancient
Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, as being a monument of
is a second cross of medieval origin in the churchyard, which was
granted the status of a Grade II Listed Building in 1989. The
socket stone and the lower 30 inches of the shaft are original and
from the 15th century. The head and upper part of the shaft were
made for the cross when it was restored towards the end of the 19th
century. The cross is now 11 feet 6 inches
(3.50 metres) tall and has a tapering shaft which
has been chamfered on all four edges. Immediately below the
head, the shaft has a moulded cap with beads around it. The
cross head is of alisee patee style with five
rosettes sunk into each face.
Our thanks to Bob Noakes for his help in locating
the current position of this cross.