Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross known as Vellansagia Cross

A Scheduled Monument in St. Buryan, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.0769 / 50°4'36"N

Longitude: -5.5998 / 5°35'59"W

OS Eastings: 142543

OS Northings: 25856

OS Grid: SW425258

Mapcode National: GBR DXKG.V3L

Mapcode Global: VH05N.WBGC

Entry Name: Wayside cross known as Vellansagia Cross

Scheduled Date: 15 June 1972

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004251

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 812

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Buryan

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Buryan

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a wayside cross, situated on the northern side of the minor road from St Buryan via Tregadgwith to Newlyn. The cross survives as a circular socket stone of approximately 1.1m in diameter with a decorated wheel-head and shaft. The cross stands to a height of approximately 1m, and the rectangular section shaft measures 0.3m wide by 0.2m thick. The cross head is decorated on both sides by an incised Latin cross which extends down the shaft.

The cross was first recorded by Blight in 1858 who suggested a small chapel had once stood nearby and by Langdon in 1896. It is believed it was originally located at a ford and is mentioned as a boundary marker in 1582. It has been moved several times before finally being moved to its present location at some time before 1944 by the Revd CB Crofts a former vicar of St Buryan. Local tradition states the cross should not be tampered with and it should be cared for since a previous owner who failed to do so suffered an untimely and grizzly end.

The cross is Listed Grade II (69599).

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-422377

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 known as Vellansagia Cross survives well and is linked with local folklore regarding its care and maintenance. Its decoration is simple but clearly visible.

Source: Historic England

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