Tavistock Memorial Cross

Browse crosses

 
Location:  In the centre of Bedford Square, Tavistock 

O/S Grid Ref:  SX/48216/74381         Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-):  -4.14381/50.54943

Map location:  Click here to view map.

Purpose:  The cross serves as the Town War Memorial.

Size: The cross is 10 feet (3.05 metres) tall, the shaft is 18 inches (0.46 metres) wide by 18 inches (0.46 metres) deep at the base and the width across the arms is 3 feet (0.91 metres).  The base stone is 3 feet 5 inches (1.04 metres) square and 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 metres) high.  The base stone is set on a plinth of three steps, with a combined height of 21 inches (0.53 metres).  This makes the whole monument an impressive 15 feet and 3 inches (4.65 metres) tall.   

Information: This tall elegant cross has a tapering octagonal shaft topped by a clover leaf head, which bears the inscription 'IHS' in the centre of its southern face.  The large tapering square socket stone sits on a plinth of two steps and the whole is set in the middle of a raised area of grass and surrounded by a chain held in place by a number of granite posts.   

The cross was erected after the First World War, in 1921, to remember those of the town to have lost their lives in that conflict.  One side of the socket stone bears the inscription: 'I Stand To Bear Proud Witness To These Men Of Tavistock Who Died For England In The Great War 1914 - 1918'.  Beneath this inscription, on the other three faces of the socket stone and on the top step are listed out the names of the 119 men who lost their lives.  Later, after World War II, a further stone slab has been laid against the cross plinth to honour those who gave their lives in that war.  The inscription reads: 'In Memoriam 1939 - 1945 Also To Those Who Made The Supreme Sacrifice During The Second World War'.  The names of the 40 men are listed in two columns below the inscription.

tavistock_omaha.jpg (161099 bytes)On the grass, to the south of the cross, lies a slate memorial to those American officers and men who set off from Tavistock and lost their lives in the D-Day Landings on Omaha Beach, Normandy.  The inscription reads: 'To the officers and men of the U.S. 29th Infantry Division who left Tavistock in May 1944 to embark for the D-Day assault on Omaha Beach.  We Will Remember Them'.

tavistock_st_johns_2.jpg (143739 bytes)On the other side of the river from the Tavistock Memorial Cross is St John's Avenue, a scenic path that runs down beside the River Tavy.  Just inside the entrance to the walk  are two short lengths of what is thought to have been the shaft of another cross or of two separate crosses.  The first piece (SX48240/74305), at the entrance to the walk  measures 9 inches (0.23 metres) wide, by 7 inches (0.18 metres) deep and 7 inches (0.18 metres) high.  The second piece (SX48237/74297) is about 10 yards further in to the walk and this one  measures 7 inches (0.18 metres) wide, 8 inches (0.20 metres) in depth and 5 inches (0.14 metres) high.  This one has been concave chamfered on all four of its edges and has a gate hasp fixed into tavistock_st_johns_1.jpg (159132 bytes) the top of the stone.  Rather than being re-used as a gatepost, I'm inclined to think that the hasp has been used to keep a gate open as required.  I've not been able to discover where the cross, or crosses, from which these stones originated, were originally sited.