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Finger Post at Gammaton Cross

A Grade II Listed Building in Bideford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.9997 / 50°59'59"N

Longitude: -4.1527 / 4°9'9"W

OS Eastings: 249046

OS Northings: 124466

OS Grid: SS490244

Mapcode National: GBR KL.KCTW

Mapcode Global: FRA 266G.L0T

Entry Name: Finger Post at Gammaton Cross

Listing Date: 5 February 2019

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1460098

Location: Bideford, Torridge, Devon, EX39

County: Devon

District: Torridge

Civil Parish: Bideford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


Finger post, thought to date from the 1880s.


Finger post, thought to date from the 1880s.

MATERIAL: cast iron.

DESCRIPTION: the finger post is situated at the cross roads at Gammaton, and stands on the verge on the west side of the cross.

The post is circular and has 'GAMMATON CROSS' down its shaft. It has four posts which point to Newton Tracey, Bideford, Torrington and Horwood, with the respective distances to each in miles. The post pointing to Newton Tracey has been damaged. The finger post is surmounted by a pyramidal finial, which bears the letter B, which may stand for Bideford Parish.


Legislation was enacted in 1697 which enabled magistrates to place 'direction posts at cross-highways'; the earliest surviving example is believed to be Joseph Izod's post of 1669 in the Cotswolds. In 1773 the General Turnpike Act required trustees to erect signs informing travellers of the distance to the nearest town, and often to London. After the Local Government Act of 1888 which established county councils, many finger posts were erected throughout the country of varying designs. The Motor Car Act 1903 passed responsibility for the provision of all traffic signs to local authorities.

The first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1887 depicts a guide (finger) post at the cross roads at Gammaton. The existing post may be the original, or it may be a slightly later replacement, as its style is more akin to later examples.

Reasons for Listing

The finger post at Gammaton Cross, thought to date from the 1880s, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* for its intrinsic interest as an example of a cast iron finger post with four direction arms and good quality detailing.

Historic interest:

* as an example of an increasingly rare survival of a once-common type of street furniture.

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