Childe's Tomb

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Childe's Tomb is located on the south-east edge of Foxtor Mires, c.500 metres north of Fox Tor on Dartmoor, in the United Kingdom at grid reference SX625704. It is approximately 3 feet 4 inches (1 m) tall and 1 foot 8 inches (0.5 m) at the crosspiece.

Legend has it that the cross was erected over the kistvaen (burial chamber) of Childe the Hunter.

The cross has its base in a socket stone, resting on granite blocks over the chamber. The whole is surrounded by a circle of granite stones set up on their edge, in the fashion of a number of kistvaens on the moor. This raises the total height of the cross to 7 feet (2.1 m).

The tomb was vandalised in 1812 by Thomas Windeatt, who was responsible for taking many of the stones when building Fox Tor Farm. It is believed that some stones were used to make a clapper bridge across the River Swincombe.

The site was repaired in the 1880s by Fearnley Tanner as one of the first acts of the Dartmoor Preservation Association.

Childe the Hunter was Ordulf, son of Ordgar, who was the Anglo-Saxon Earl of Devon in the 11th century. The name 'Childe' is derived from the word Cild meaning 'Young Lord'.

Legend has it that Childe was in a party hunting on the moor when they were caught in some changeable weather. Childe became separated from the main party and was lost. In order to save himself from dying of exposure, he killed his horse, disembowelled it and crept inside the warm carcass for shelter. He nevertheless froze to death, but before he died, he wrote a note to the effect that whoever should find him and bury him in their church should inherit his Plymstock estate.

William Crossing quotes Tristram Risdon, who relates that the original tomb bore the following inscription:

"They fyrste that fyndes and bringes mee to my grave, The priorie of Plimstoke they shall have"

He was found by the monks of Tavistock Abbey, who started to carry his body back. However, they heard of a plot to ambush them by the people of Plymstock, at a bridge over the River Tavy. They took a detour and built a new bridge over Tavy, just outside of Tavistock. They were successful in burying the body in the grounds of the Abbey and inherited the Plymstock estate.

The first account of this story is to be found in a survey undertaken by Thomas Risden in 1630:

See also


Coordinates: 50°31′02″N 3°56′27″W / 50.51719°N 3.94085°W / 50.51719; -3.94085

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