the Dunsford Churchyard, towards the eastern end of the rear of the
O/S Grid Ref:
Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-): -3.68177/50.69061
to view map.
Cross to mark the grave plot of the Fulford family.
The cross is 5 feet 2 inches (1.58 metres) high and the shaft is 9 inches
(0.23 metres) wide by 8½ inches (0.22 metres) deep, measured at the base. The
width across the arms is 25 inches (0.64 metres). The socket stone
measures 28 inches across (0.71 metres) and 12 inches (0.30 metres)
high. The plinth measures 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 metres) across and
approximately 8 inches (0.20 metres) high. In total, the top of the
cross stands 6 feet 10 inches (2.08 metres) above the ground.
cross is of the Maltese design, with the shaft and arms being chamfered on
all four corners. It sits in an octagonal base stone, where
the top slopes down away from the shaft and there is a collar around the
bottom of the shaft where it joins the socket. The plinth, of just the one
step, is also octagonal and supports the whole structure. On the
eastern face of the socket stone there is a small metal plaque in the
shape of a bear's head, beneath which are the words: "BEAR
UP". The cross sits in the centre of a large plot, which is
approximately 30 feet (9.15 metres) square, and which is bordered by a
number of granite setts let into the ground. This marks the burial
plot of the Fulford family and there are 8 smaller crosses across the top
of the plot, together with 4 other headstones, marking the graves of
various family members.
Fulford family seat is at the manor house of Great Fulford, which lies
about 2 miles to the north west of Dunsford Village. The family have
been traced back to living on this site continuously since the reign of
King Richard I (1189-1199) and is thought to be one of the most, if not
the most, ancient family in Devon who have remained at the same house
throughout the centuries. Although the family have lived on this
site all the time, the present Grade 1 listed Manor House dates from the
16th century and has been refurbished in the late 17th century and
remodelled in about 1800. The word 'Great' was added to the name of
the house when it was refurbished in the 17th century, to distinguish it
from another property 'Little Fulford' in the parish of Shobrooke, which
was also held by the Fulford family at the time.
Fulford, a pre-15th century member of the family, married Alicia FitzUrse,
daughter and co-heiress of Ralph FitzUrse of Williton in Somerset.
The coat of arms of the FitzUrse family includes the heads of three bears
and it is thought that this formed the basis of the bear's head, together
with the motto 'BEAR UP', being included in the Fulford family coat of
arms. One of the FitzUrse ancestors, Sir Reginald Fitzurse (
1145-1173), was traced back to being one of the four knights who murdered
Thomas Beckett in 1170. The name 'FitzUrse' derives from the French
'Fitz' meaning 'son of' and 'Urse' from the Latin 'Ursus'
meaning bear - hence the connection with the bear's head.
the Dunsford Parish Church is a large monument to Sir Thomas Fulford
(1553-1610). The sculpture portrays Sir Thomas in full armour with
his wife, Ursula, lying by his side and with their seven children, 3 sons
and 4 daughters, kneeling in a row above them. Ursula was a daughter
of Richard Bampfield (1526-1594), Sheriff of Devon in 1576 and ancestor of
the Bampfield Baronets and Barons of Poltimore. The monument is placed in
a corner of the church and on the two adjacent walls are large memorial
plaques to other members of the family.