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This walk: 2017-6-26. The Ten Commandments Stones at Buckland Beacon.

Walk details below - Information about the route etc.

Previous walks in this area:  9th June 2010 (best of the older photographs, the letters having been re-cut in 2009),  23rd February 2011 and 28th August 2013

The Ten Commandments Stones were originally inscribed in 1928. They were re-cut and painted black in 1995, renovated in 2009 when they were re-cut and left unpainted (judging by the photographs linked below from 2010) and now re-cut and repainted in 2017. 

 The inscriptions can be seen clearly in these photographs from 2010 ...........

The photo-montages of the stones show some distortion due to using a camera with a relatively wide-angle lens - some joins are not perfect!

You can navigate around the large images using the keyboard arrow keys. If you are viewing in full screen mode (F11), you will need to press F11 again to access your browser "Back" button to return to this page.


The work below was done by Iain Cotton of Making Stones Speak, Harry Brockway, and towards the end, Tobias Newbiggin, a signwriter.

An event shelter was used for protection against the weather while the work was done.  Also, the position of the Jubilee Stone is indicated (to be re-checked, more information below).

From the Mike Brown (2001) Guide to Dartmoor, CD-ROM, Dartmoor Press, Grid Square 7350 7309 .....

"Beside the outcrops of Buckland Beacon lie the two Ten Commandments Stones. Inscribed as recently as 1928 at the behest of the lord of Buckland Manor, the lettering was becoming extremely weathered and indistinct until the inscription was recut in the summer of 1995. Just above, on the summit of the Beacon Rocks, is another inscription, commemorating the lighting of a beacon fire on the summit during the Jubilee celebrations of 1935, some of its letters also already becoming illegible."


Self-explanatory notice.

Moor Than Meets The Eye Project on Facebook  .....  many posts with photographs about the Commandment Stones project including some videos .....

 Video 1 - Ten Commandments Stones: The Story and Project - 25th May 2017

Video 2 - Ten Commandments Stones: Cleaning and Restoring - 26th May

Video 3 -  Ten Commandments Stones: Community Involvement  15th June

Video 4 - Ten Commandments Stones: Carving and Conserving - 21st June

BBC web page and video - Thou shalt tidy up the Ten Commandments on Dartmoor - 23rd June

DNPA News Release: Dartmoor's Ten Commandment Stones restored to former glory. 3rd July.


The inscriptions really stand out after cleaning and re-cutting (where it was necessary, to restore legibility).

The Ten Commandments Stones (see this Legendary Dartmoor link for details): the stones were commissioned by William Whitely of Wellstor, Lord of Buckland Manor, in 1928, in celebration of the rejection by Parliament of a proposed new Book of Common Prayer that was deemed too popish by many. There are two dates on the stones: 15th Dec 1927 and 14 June 1928, that are the dates on which the revised book was rejected. When it was realised that there would be room to spare, the third verse of the hymn "Oh God our help in ages past" was added to the second stone. There are 1,547 letters.

The sculptor was WA Clement who lived nearby in a hut for two months whilst working in all weathers. The work was finished on 31 August 1928.


Harry Brockway (left) and Iain Cotton at work.

The stones were recut and painted black in 1995 and were renovated again in 2009 by the Dartmoor National Park Authority Conservation Team.


Work in progress.

Clive Gunnell's book, My Dartmoor (1977), Bossiney Books, St. Teath, Bodmin, pages 24-26, recount how Arthur Clement, an Exmouth man, cut the Commandments after dressing the two slabs that Mr Whitely, Lord of Buckland Manor, had selected. Work started on 23rd July, 1928, and finished on 31st August, 1928. During this time he slept in what sounds like a cow shed in woods below the Beacon. It isn't recorded if this was part of Buckland Hall or perhaps Mr Whitely's own Welstor.


Iain taking a moment's break.


The letters were becoming very hard to read on recent visits.


The nearby Jubilee Stone .....

Perfectly illegible!


Checking its location .....


This line was touched-up during the current project ..... the compass bearing straight out from the top of this inscription is 241.


An old photograph .....

Jubilee Stone (photograph from 9th June 2010) - marking the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary.

1282 FT
MAY 6TH 1935


Walk details

MAP: Red = GPS satellite track of the walk.

Crown copyright 2016  Ordnance Survey Licence number 100047373
Also, Copyright 2005, Memory-Map Europe, with permission.


The walk was accessed via the A38 from Plymouth, Newton Abbot/Widecombe turn-off and following the road for Widecombe to the Cold East Cross car park, the  P symbol with a green cross on the map. It can also be accessed from the Tavistock/Widecombe direction.

The straight out and back route is 2.6 km / 1.6 miles.




All photographs on this web site are copyright © Keith Ryan.
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