cross is mounted on the front of the Chapel to the rear of Venton
O/S Grid Ref:
Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-): -3.80686/50.57048
to view map.
Size: The cross has not yet been
This cross has been mounted high up on the front of the chapel
built by ‘My Lady of the Moor’ - Olive Katherine Parr –
whose pen name was
‘Beatrice Chase’. The chapel was built from a converted barn
situated behind her cottage at Venton, near Widecombe-in-the-Moor. The
simple granite cross is mounted on a granite projection on the gable
end of the 1908 Catholic chapel. Olive always kept a lamp burning in
the window of the chapel and she also displayed the Rose of Lancaster,
as a symbol of her royal lineage. The chapel was always open to
anyone who wished to visit.
Olive's mother was also named Olive
Katherine Parr, who was known as 'The Rainbow Maker'. This was
probably as a result of the spectrum of light often produced when the
sun shone on her favourite string of glass beads worn around her neck.
Olive Katherine Parr (Junior) was born in 1874 at
Harrow, Middlesex, and claimed to be a descendant of Catherine Parr
the sixth wife of Henry VIII. She would also wear a string of beads
around her neck and had moved to this part of the country in the early
1900's, together with her mother, as a result of her contracting
Tuberculosis. This was probably due to the work that they were
both doing in the slums and workhouses of London. It was thought
that the clean West-Country air would be beneficial to her health.
Olive positioned her writing
desk before a large window set into a rounded corner of the
house. Here, she would be able to seek inspiration for her books
from the Dartmoor landscape, as well as from the locals who might
happen to be walking or riding past her window. She wrote many
books including, The Heart of the Moor, The Corpse of the
Moor and Through a Dartmoor Window. Her books always
sold well at the time, but her writing style is now considered too
flowery and religious for modern day tastes.
was also an active campaigner on behalf of Dartmoor, such as taking a
personal interest in the Dartmoor Prison, opposing the use of the Moor by
the Military and she even opposed the formation of the National Park
Authority. She also collaborated with a
composer to write a number of Dartmoor-themed songs. As an
amateur photographer, she would take many photos of local moorland
scenes, of which she would have some printed out and sent to her
friends with a typewritten note, always in red, on the back. Olive was,
unfortunately, taken ill again died in the Newton Abbot Infirmary on
3rd July 1955.