Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross 315m north of The Old Rectory, Altarnun

A Scheduled Monument in Altarnun, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.608 / 50°36'28"N

Longitude: -4.5124 / 4°30'44"W

OS Eastings: 222322.869425

OS Northings: 81706.189277

OS Grid: SX223817

Mapcode National: GBR NC.C4Q5

Mapcode Global: FRA 17FG.HTP

Entry Name: Wayside cross 315m north of The Old Rectory, Altarnun

Scheduled Date: 23 September 1974

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004239

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 859

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Altarnun

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Altarnon with Bolventor

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a wayside cross, set into a wall beside a junction of two minor roads to the north of the settlement of Atarnun. The cross survives as a roughly square-shaped head with the upper portion broken off and a very short length of shaft set into a wall. The height of the cross head and surviving shaft is approximately 0.6m. The cross was first recorded by Langdon in the 19th century. It is known locally as 'Short Cross'.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-436376

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements or on routes which might have a more specifically religious function, including providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions. Wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration but several regional types have been identified. The Cornish wayside crosses form one such group. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces of which various forms of cross were carved. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ. Less common forms include the `Latin' cross, where the cross-head itself is shaped within the arms of an unenclosed cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low-relief cross on both faces. Over 400 crosses of all types are recorded in Cornwall. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval routeways, settlement patterns and the development of sculptural traditions and their survival is somewhat differential because of periods of religious turbulence during the Reformation when many were subject to damage or partial destruction by iconoclasts. The wayside cross 315m north of The Old Rectory, Altarnun survives reasonably well. Its unusual shape adds to its interest.

Source: Historic England

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