If you’re ever near Nun’s Cross Farm have a careful look along the numerous enclosure walls and you may spot a strange stone embedded in one of them. As can be seen from the pictures below it certainly did not originate from that area and does not seem to be in context. Carved into it is a shield and emblem which possibly make up a coat of arms. The only mention I have ever seen of it was in the 1987 summer issue of the Dartmoor Magazine where a photo and a request for further information was printed.
The Mystery Stone in 1996
The ravages of time have further eroded the stone but the emblem consists of the letters ‘V’ and ‘T’ separated by an upright sword. These are then enclosed within a shield shaped border. Manaton (1987, p.2) suggests that the ‘T’ may well represent the name Tyrwhitt who at one time was a large landowner who lived at nearby Tor Royal. Other suggestions of the time were that the stone could have come from the old Nun’s Cross Mine or even the Devonport Leat. More believable is Mike Brown’s theory that VT refers to the Vincent Thomas School of Exeter who at one time used the nearby farmhouse as a base for summer field courses, p.14. There appears to have been no owners or tenants of the nearby farms whose names would fit the initials so possibly the stone was ‘acquired’ elsewhere and built into the wall as a ‘novelty’. Certainly there has been no further mention of the stone in any recent publications or books so the mystery continues…
Brown, M. 1998. Dartmoor Field Guides – Vol. 15. Plymouth: Dartmoor Press.
Manaton, L. 1987, Mystery Stone, Dartmoor Magazine – No. 7, Quay Pub., Brixham.