Shaugh Prior Village Cross

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Location In the centre of the village, in the roadside wall of Brag Lane, just up from the road junction.

O/S Grid Ref: SX/54433/63092       Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-):  -4.05172/50.44956  

Map location: Click here to view map.

Purpose:  Either a Preaching or a Village Cross.

Size:  5 feet 7 inches (1.70 metres) tall. 2 feet 1 inch (0.64 metres) across the arms. The shaft is 13 inches (0.33 metres) wide and 10 inches (0.25 metres) deep.

Information:  Both the cross and the substantial socket stone are set into the roadside wall.  It will be noticed that the socket stone protudes from the wall in which it sits, having slipped from its original position over the years. The cross was originally chamfered on all edges but, due to the extensive weathering that has taken place, this is not immediately noticeable. Close examination will reveal that the right hand arm has been reattached to the cross and that a repair to the head has also been carried out. Otherwise the cross is still in very good condition. It is obviously a very old cross and therefore may have been in use as a Preaching Cross, prior to the first church being built.

shaugh_drg.gif (119768 bytes)A report by Mr C. Spence Bate, in the Journal of the Plymouth Institution from the 1870ís, shows a sketch of this cross with the right hand arm completely missing and it also shows some damage to the head.  It was his opinion that that the cross was dislodged by "the growth of vegetation having forced it into a reclining position".  He also goes on to say that the cross was recently (during the 1870ís) restored.

In recent years a new cross has been erected at the roadside, about 150 yards west of the church, and sited on the grass verge (Grid Ref: SX/54129/63097).  However, this cross is not of ancient origin but has been made and sited here in recent years.  The cross is composed of a synthetic material, probably fibreglass, and has been rendered on the outside so, at first glance, it looks like a genuine granite cross.  The cross measures 5 feet 2 inches (1.57 metres) tall, 25 inches (0.64 metres) across the arms and the depth of the shaft is 10 inches (0.25 metres).  The socket, which does appear to be made of granite, measures 32 inches (0.81 metres) by 24 inches (0.61 metres) and 8 inches (0.20 metres) high.  The shaugh_prior_roadside.jpg (154697 bytes) name of 'Shaugh Prior' has been inscribed into the rendering across the arms and painted white.  I have been unable to determine the reason for someone, or perhaps a group, going to the trouble of making a cross like this unless, perhaps, the socket suddenly came to light and the village wanted a way to create a replica, to resemble the original cross for this socket.

dewerstone.jpg (87215 bytes)About 1 kilometre to the north west of the village, on the road to Bickleigh, is the picturesque spot of Shaugh Bridge, over the River Plym. This is a popular tourist spot and an ideal place from which to explore the area. Right next to the car park are some remains of kilns that were used in former times for drying clay, extracted from the area. Just upstream from the bridge is the confluence of the Rivers Plym and Meavy, beside which are some old mine ruins. From the bridge it is only a short climb up to the Dewerstone and accompanying ancient earthworks, towering over the River Plym. A short distance to the west of the bridge runs the disused Plymouth to Princetown railway track. This has now been converted into a cycle route.

In addition to these two crosses, Shaugh Prior also has a War Memorial Cross, a socket stone and the length of another cross shaft (both included on the page for the Churchyard Cross).

Our thanks go to Mark Fenlon and Paul Rendell for providing the information on the modern roadside cross in the village.