Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Wayside cross 40m west of Helland House

A Scheduled Monument in Mabe, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1403 / 50°8'24"N

Longitude: -5.1467 / 5°8'47"W

OS Eastings: 175253.239

OS Northings: 31428.647533

OS Grid: SW752314

Mapcode National: GBR Z8.W773

Mapcode Global: FRA 083N.2RZ

Entry Name: Wayside cross 40m west of Helland House

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1932

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006672

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 148

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Mabe

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Mabe

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a wayside cross, situated on the walls surrounding a small garden in Helland, the supposed site of an ancient chapel and graveyard. The cross survives as a decorated wheel-headed cross and shaft measuring up to 1m high. On one side is an incised St Andrew's cross with incised patterns on the shaft. On the other side is an incised cross within a circle. The cross was found buried in the garden along with a stone font or basin and some broken slates. The name Helland was first noted as Hellan in 1323 and is thought to derive from Hen-lan or 'old church' and Henderson suggested it could be of pre-Norman in date.
The garden walls and pillars are Listed Grade II (66482).

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-427696

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 40m west of Helland House has been re-erected, but lies within a garden thought to be an early graveyard where an apparently early font has also been discovered. Its apparent association with an early chapel, if proven, makes it an extremely rare survival with considerable archaeological potential.

Source: Historic England

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