Browse crosses

 
Location:  In the Gidleigh Churchyard, round the back of the church and just below a large grave with iron railings all the way around it.

O/S Grid Ref: SX/67061/88375       Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-):  -3.88299/50.67980  

Map location:  Click here to view map.

Purpose:  The original purpose of this cross is unknown, although it is currently in use as a headstone for the grave of William Sampson, who was a local farmer.

Size:  4 feet 6 inches (1.35 metres) tall. 1 foot 8 inches (0.50 metres) across the arms.

Information:  This sturdy cross, which is in very good condition, is chamfered all round with the exception of the base of the shaft, which is square. The shaft tapers upwards, the head downwards and the arms from the outside inwards. The only visible damage is a small piece missing out of one corner of the base of the shaft. The socket stone is generally square, but tapers slightly towards the top. It measures 24 inches (60 cm) wide, 15 in (38cm) high, 17 inches (43cm) deep.

The front face of the socket stone is engraved as follows:

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
WILLIAM SAMPSON
SEXTON & BELLRINGER
WHO DIED AT GREENAWAY, GIDLEIGH
DECEMBER 21ST 1940, AGED 67 YEARS
ALSO OF EVA SAMPSON
BELOVED WIFE OF ABOVE
WHO DIED AT GREENAWAY
JANUARY 4TH 1934
BURIED AT NORTH TAMERTON

The cross was found during the 1920s or early 1930s, placed upside down in the ground and in use as a fencing post at the nearby Greenaway Farm. It was rescued by the Dartmoor Preservation Association, given a new socket stone and erected near the farm entrance. It can only be assumed that relatives of William Sampson arranged for it to be set up in its current position, on his death in 1940.

This is a very quiet and rural churchyard. There is a row of mature beech trees running up the hill behind the churchyard and a pleasant little stream trickling its way between the graves, below the cross. There are nine tombstones built into the base of the wall at the front of the church. These date from the 17th and 18th centuries and are engraved with old English writing which, due to their age, is not now easy to decipher. 

Right next to the church and standing in the grounds of a private house, are the substantial remains of the early 14th century Gidleigh Castle.