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Medieval wayside cross at Blisland

A Scheduled Monument in Blisland, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5281 / 50°31'41"N

Longitude: -4.6832 / 4°40'59"W

OS Eastings: 209917.612622

OS Northings: 73253.455069

OS Grid: SX099732

Mapcode National: GBR N4.J2VT

Mapcode Global: FRA 172N.P9M

Entry Name: Medieval wayside cross at Blisland

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1932

Last Amended: 18 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010842

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24304

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Blisland

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Blisland

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross and a protective margin around
it, situated at a junction of four roads on the village green in Blisland on
the western fringe of Bodmin Moor in north Cornwall. The cross is also a Grade
II Listed Building.

The cross in Blisland village survives as an upright granite slab, 0.97m high,
the shaft firmly set in the ground. The cross is wedge-shaped, the
head measuring up to 0.38m wide and 0.2m thick, with a curved upper edge and
straight tapered sides, merging smoothly with the shaft which tapers to 0.22m
wide and 0.18m thick at the base. Each principal face of the head bears a
relief Latin cross within a deep sub-rectangular recess, the cross motif
measuring 0.26m high by 0.2m wide. This recess is bordered by a wide raised
bead along the rounded top, tapering sides and base of the recess, except on
the left-hand side of the eastern face. The lower edge of the basal beading
demarcates the head from the remainder of the shaft. The curved upper edge of
the head meets the side edges at a slight, 0.05m wide projection. The upper
edge of the cross head has a copper alloy pin, 0.01m in diameter set in the
centre of its curve. The rectangular-section shaft is decorated on the eastern
face by a slight, eroded, midline groove extending towards the head for at
least 0.31m from 0.15m above ground level.

The cross is situated at the staggered junction of four roads at the western
end of the village green in Blisland village on the western fringes of Bodmin
Moor. It has always been recorded at this location since its first depiction
by the Ordnance Survey in 1881. This junction marks the crossing point of
routes linking the towns and settlements of the north west coastal strip of
Cornwall and western Bodmin Moor with one of the main early east-west routes
across Cornwall, now the A30, and its early link with the crossing point of
the River Camel at Wadebridge. On a local level, this cross is one of an
unusually large number of medieval wayside crosses within this parish which
marked the main routes to the church, situated 175m south east of this

The metalled surface of the modern roads passing by the cross and within the
area of the protective margin are excluded from the scheduling but the ground
beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been
recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The
Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the
best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of
prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human
exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The
well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field
systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains
provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land
use through time. 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. Of the 35 surviving on Bodmin Moor, 21 are recorded as
wayside crosses. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding
of medieval routeways, settlement patterns and the development of sculptural
traditions. All wayside crosses which survive as earth-fast monuments, except
those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations,
are considered worthy of protection.

The cross in Blisland village has survived well and in its original location.
The overall wedge-shape of this cross and its head motif are rare among
wayside crosses. Its position at a junction of four roads on important early
regional and local routes demonstrates well the relationship of wayside
crosses and early thoroughfares, evident at a local level in the cross's
function as a waymarker within the parish to the church at Blisland.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Preston-Jones, A.E., AM 107 FMW report for CO 201, (1989)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 07/17; Bodmin Moor (west)
Source Date:

Source: Historic England

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