Browse crosses

 
LocationFrom Teigncombe Farm, take the road back towards Chagford, go around a right hand bend and the socket stone is in the field facing you on the next bend in the road, about 200 yards from the farm. Alternatively, walk up North Hill Lane from Leigh Bridge towards Teigncombe Farm, turn right onto the narrow road, from Chagford, at the top and the stone is to be found in the field to your left on the first bend you reach in the road.

O/S Grid Ref:  SX/67378/87158       Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-):  -3.87807/50.66893

Map location:  Click here to view map.

Purpose:  Although now abandoned in a field, this socket stone would originally have been used to support a waymarker cross. This would probably have marked the route of the Marinerís Way, which passes through Teigncombe Farm.  More information on this ancient track can be found on our page for Leeper Cross, which is also sited on this route.

Size:  The circular socket stone is 3 feet 9 inches (1.14 metres) in diameter and 12 inches (0.30 metres) deep.  The rectangular socket in centre of the stone measures 16 inches (0.41 metres) by 10 inches (0.25 metres) and goes right the way through the stone..

Information:  For many years this stone was set vertically in the ground and used as a roadside gatepost for the apse end of the gate.  However, a visit in 2021 revealed that the stone has now been replaced by a round wooden gatepost.  The socket stone now lies abandoned in the field, around to the left, and is lying flat on the ground under an overhanging tree and covered in undergrowth.  (I managed to clear most of the undergrowth in order to take the photo opposite).  

teigncombe_gatepost.jpg (113051 bytes)When the stone was in use as a gatepost there was a circular iron fixed into the top edge, which was used to hold the apse of the gate. Also towards the top of the face of the stone, another iron had been cut off flush with the surface.  It is very likely that this was the remains of a gate hanger. There may well have been a partner to it, but this wasn't visible as its position would be on that part of the stone which was below ground level.  None of these irons were visible on my latest visit probably due to the stone having been placed face down on the ground.
 
teigncombe_barton.jpg (171225 bytes) Harry Starkey recorded that the head and arms of the original Leigh Bridge Cross, a replica of which is now to be seen in the wooded bank a few yards above Leigh Bridge, originally came from Teigncombe Farm. He was given this information by Mr John Somers Cocks but, although he was told that it was moved during the early part of the 20th century, he doesnít appear to have been given the reason why. Although the old Leigh Bridge Cross had a replacement shaft, this was likely to be of a similar size to the original and would appear to be a very good match for the hole in this socket stone.

It is unusual, but not unique, in Dartmoor socket stones for the hole to go right the through the stone. Other examples of this are the socket stones for the Cadover and Whitchurch Down Crosses. A lady that I spoke to near the site of this stone, during my first visit, informed me that it is referred to locally as a mill-stone. This sets me wondering whether this was its original purpose and that it was later converted to a socket stone and, more recently, to a gatepost. A square hole in the centre of a mill-stone could easily be made larger to accept the shaft of a cross and this could explain the reason for the hole going right the way through the stone.