Hamel Down Cross

Hamel Down



England, UK. (Grid Ref: SX704 801)


Sitting at a lofty 1,732 feet (524m) above sea level the Hamel Down Cross stands battered and broken just off the track that stretches out along the ridge of Hamel Down. Thought to be medieval in date this old cross no longer stands in its original location but was moved in the 19th century to serve as a boundary stone.


The cross stands at a little over 4 feet in height (1.3m) and no more than 2 feet in width (0.64m). Inscribed upon it are the initials HC and DS along with a date of 1854 upon its eastern face - HC being Hamel Down Cross and DS being Duke of Somerset. This stone was one of many used by Edward Augustus Seymour, the 11th Duke of Somerset, to mark the boundary of his estate, Natsworthy Manor, in 1854 - it is likely however that the cross was used for this purpose long before the inscription was made!

"We shall find it to be a very rudely-fashioned one, formed out of a slab four feet four inches in height, the width of it immediately below the arms being one foot eight inches. One of the arms - the southerly one - is broken off and lies on the ground nearby. The depth of the remaining one close to the shaft is thirteen inches, but it is not nearly so much as this at its extremity. The head has also been broken, but it does not appear that it ever rose very much above the arms. From the end of the arm which is now remaining, to the opposite side of the shaft the distance is two feet two inches. The thickness of the cross at the bottom is eight inches, but it is not much more than six inches higher up. It is leaning considerably towards the west." (1987, pp.168 -169). - Crossing, W. 1987, The Ancient Stone Crosses of Dartmoor, Exeter: Devon Books.