Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Early Christian memorial stone at Nanscowe Farm

A Scheduled Monument in St. Breock, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5017 / 50°30'6"N

Longitude: -4.8654 / 4°51'55"W

OS Eastings: 196898.729822

OS Northings: 70801.5444

OS Grid: SW968708

Mapcode National: GBR ZS.0H99

Mapcode Global: FRA 07PQ.Y1F

Entry Name: Early Christian memorial stone at Nanscowe Farm

Scheduled Date: 10 August 1923

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006756

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 16

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Breock

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Breoke

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes an Early Christian memorial stone situated at Nanscowe Farm. The memorial stone survives as a freestanding granite monolith measuring approximately 1.2m high, 0.3m wide and 0.3m thick. It is incised with the lettering 'VLCAGNI FILI SEVERI'. The stone stylistically dates to between the 5th and 8th centuries. It was first recorded in 1846 when it was in use as a gatepost on the farm but by the 1920s had been moved to its current position. The name 'Ulcagnus' is of Irish origin.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-430952

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. 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. They represent 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. The Early Christian memorial stone at Nanscowe Farm is one of a rare and unusual group with a very limited geographic spread in England. Despite having been used as a gatepost and moved to its current location for its protection, it is remains a rare and unusual object.

Source: Historic England

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