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|Curiosities & Features|
Doniford Stone Cross |
In the 1870's Charles Pooley set about recording the ancient stone crosses of Somerset. Many of his discoveries would have been undertaken on horseback and his completed project 'Old Crosses of Somerset' was published in 1877 and included the water cross at Doniford which is believed to date from the 15th or possibly 14th Century.
It is important to remember that prior to 1829 when the Minehead Turnpike Trust drove a new route from West Quantoxhead to Williton Doniford stood on the prime route from Bridgwater to Minehead and beyond, anciently the Great Road or Hunting Path.
Watchet was a principal trading place and especially important in the manufacture and trade of cloth.. The goods to the town and harbour would have made their way to the port by packhorse from the Quantocks and beyond via Doniford prior to 1829.
Although a large number of stone crosses survive in the county many have been lost, significantly after 1644. An Act of Parliament in this year under the influence of the Puritans resulted in the total loss of many examples.
The Doniford Cross is of particular importance as it is just one of two remaining water crosses in the county and thus named because it straddled water.
Why was it erected? This is open to conjecture and suggestions have included a place where a Celtic saint may have landed (St. Decuman?) standing as it does at a road junction perhaps a guide stone or maybe a reminder to travelers of the spiritual aspects of life or even a place of trade. Whatever it's original purpose there is little doubt that this piece of our local history is worth preserving.
You can see the cross on the coast side of the T junction at Doniford.
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