Harford Churchyard Cross Head

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LocationLying beside the church wall immediately to the left of the porch.

O/S Grid Ref:  SX/63823/59472       Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-):  -3.91822/50.41928 

Map location:  Click here to view map.

Purpose: The original purpose of this cross is unknown.

Size: This section of a cross head is 1 foot 8 inches (0.51 metres) long and 10 inches (0.25 metres) across the shaft and the one remaining arm. The depth of the shaft is 9 inches (0.23 metres).  The arm juts out from the shaft by 4 inches (0.10 metres) and is 9 inches (0.24 metres) high, with a depth of 9 inches (0.23 metres).

Information: It is not known where this piece of a cross head came from or where the cross would have originally stood.  From looking at the head, I would judge that it is more modern than the rugged and substantial Harford Cross that stands in the same churchyard, near the main entrance gate.  My guess would be that it once served as a waymarking cross and, after being found in this damaged state, the head was rescued and brought into the churchyard for safekeeping.

The cross head shows a spur projecting out from under, and possibly above, the remaining arm which is very similar to the arms of both the Spurrell's Cross and the cross head on display in the porch of Ermington Church.  This ornate feature is unusual in the various crosses found around the moor, which generally tend to be more rugged and practical, than ornate.  It maybe that, within Dartmoor, it is a unique feature of a particular stonemason who was based in this locality.

harford_gatepost.jpg (162209 bytes)Standing between the cross head and the nearby side gate in the churchyard wall, is an old granite gatepost.  This stone is 4 feet 4 inches (1.22 metres) high, 13 inches (0.33 metres) wide and 8 inches (0.20 metres) deep.  The stone still has a gate apse attached to one face, with the remains of a hinge and a metal ring attached to another.  In this second face, there is also a large diameter hole that has been drilled into the stone.  This may possibly have been an horizontal pivot hole for gate at some point in the past.  The way in which this works is that two similar stones have holes drilled into them, but not all the way through.  One stone is laid flat on the ground, with the hole facing upwards, and the other laid on top of a wall with the hole facing downward and protruding out from the end of the wall.  The upright post of a gate would be slotted into the holes, top and bottom, which would allow the gate to be swung open and closed by the upright post harford_spring.jpg (196133 bytes)pivotting within these holes.   Again, I don't know where this gatepost came from, unless it was once used at the entrance to the churchyard but more likely it has been brought into the churchyard for safekeeping. 

Immediately outside the main entrance gate to the churchyard and on the opposite side of the road, a pipe protrudes from the roadside wall supplying a constant flow of water into a semicircular stone trough on the ground below.  The property behind the wall is Harford Ash Farm and the probablility is that the water originates from a spring somewhere within the farm.  It certainly provides a good supply of fresh water for any animals as they are moved up and down the lane.

Our thanks to Mark Fenlon for bringing this cross head to our attention.