Ancient Monuments

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Two early Christian memorial stones 195m north of Welltown

A Scheduled Monument in Cardinham, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4808 / 50°28'50"N

Longitude: -4.6285 / 4°37'42"W

OS Eastings: 213608.2474

OS Northings: 67852.669622

OS Grid: SX136678

Mapcode National: GBR N6.M4WT

Mapcode Global: FRA 176S.DLZ

Entry Name: Two early Christian memorial stones 195m north of Welltown

Scheduled Date: 22 April 1932

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006673

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 152

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Cardinham

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Cardynham

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes two early Christian memorial stones, situated at a crossroads of minor roads leading to Mount and Cardinham. The first stone measures approximately 1.5m high, 0.3m wide and 0.3m thick. It is of roughly hewn granite and has four modern drilled holes. It bears an inscription in two lines of capital letters which reads 'VAILATHI FILI VROCHANI'. The stone was moved to its current location from Welltown where it stood beside an outbuilding.

The second stone survives as an earthfast pillar which has been split lengthwise. It measures approximately 1.7m high, 0.3m wide and 0.2m thick. This stone bears the inscription 'ORATE PRO EP iScopus Titus', as recorded by Macalister, who also noted a possible crucifix inscribed above. No documentary trace of a Bishop Titus has yet been found, and only some of the letters are now clearly visible. This stone was moved to its current location from Tawna Lane where it was being used as a gatepost. Both stones were first recorded by Langdon in1906 and relocated to their current locations in 1932.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-432547

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Early Christian memorial stones are inscribed free-standing stones commemorating named individuals and dating to the early medieval period (c.AD 400-1100). The stones are erect, roughly dressed or undressed slabs, bearing incised inscriptions, usually set in one or more vertical lines down one face of the slab, although in four examples the text runs horizontally across the slab. All except two recorded texts are in Latin and, depending on their date, may be inscribed in a script of Romanised capitals or an insular form of lower case lettering called miniscules, or a mixture of the two. Six stones also have inscriptions in an Irish script called ogham. Most inscriptions are simple, bearing a personal name and often stating a family relationship, such as `filii' (son of), to another personal name. Fourteen stones contain elements of the simple inscriptions within a longer, complex inscriptive formula, often including the phrase `hic iacet' (here lies). Additional decoration is found on very few stones and usually comprises a cross within a circle. Early examples, prior to the eighth century AD, may bear an early Christian symbol called a Chi Rho monogram, compounding the first two Greek letters of the name `Christ'. Early Christian memorial stones are largely restricted to areas which retained Celtic traditions during the early medieval period, with at least 139 recorded from Wales. In England, they are almost entirely confined to the south-west peninsula; of the 56 recorded examples, 37 occur in Cornwall, 11 in Devon, a group of 5 in Dorset, and single examples in Somerset, Hampshire and Shropshire. These are a very rare and diverse class of monument important for our understanding of the social organisation and the development of literacy and Christianity during the early medieval period. Despite having been relocated for their protection, the two early Christian memorial stones 195m north of Welltown are a rare and unusual survival.

Source: Historic England

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