Ancient Monuments

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Fair Cross, 420m WNW of Tregidgeo Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Grampound with Creed, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.2907 / 50°17'26"N

Longitude: -4.8708 / 4°52'14"W

OS Eastings: 195605.261087

OS Northings: 47360.63715

OS Grid: SW956473

Mapcode National: GBR ZS.FV57

Mapcode Global: FRA 08P8.87J

Entry Name: Fair Cross, 420m WNW of Tregidgeo Farm

Scheduled Date: 2 January 1959

Last Amended: 9 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010843

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24305

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Grampound with Creed

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Grampound with Creed

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross shaft and base, known as the
Fair Cross, situated beside a minor modern road forming the early route from
Tregony to St Austell in mid Cornwall. The Fair Cross is also a Grade II
Listed Building.

The monument survives with an upright octagonal-section shaft of Pentewan
stone, 1.2m high, set in an obscured stone base. The shaft measures 0.26m
across opposing flat facets at the base and 0.33m across opposite corners,
each facet being 0.11m wide. The facets taper slightly to 0.1m wide at a
point 0.17m below the upper end, where the octagonal section changes to a
square section, 0.1m in width and thickness. In the upper face of the shaft is
a narrow round socket, 0.07m in diameter and 0.14m deep, for mounting the
missing head. The east side of the shaft top has been fractured, breaking away
the east side of the socket. The shaft has relatively recent incised lettering
and numbers on the northern facets, comprising, from the top downwards, the
letter `R', then `CJ', followed by `192', and finally `LM'. The cross has been
painted white; originally it was unpainted. The base is not visible being
completely overgrown by a thick layer of turf.

The Fair Cross is situated on the south side of the road close to a junction
on the route from St Austell to Tregony; although presently a small village,
Tregony was an important medieval market town and port on the River Fal during
the medieval period and this route linking it with St Austell was consequently
of greater importance in the medieval route network than it is today. The
cross lies near the centre of a widely staggered junction on that route where
it is crossed by the ESE-WNW route from the port of Mevagissey to Grampound. A
branch west from that route extends down to the parish church at Creed within
whose area this monument was erected.

The style of this cross-shaft, notably its octagonal-section shaft, indicates
a later medieval date, during the 15th century, towards the end of the
medieval cross series. It forms one of a group of such 15th century crosses of
Pentewan stone surviving in this area and which are considered to have been
erected by Reginald Mertherderwa, the Rector of Creed from AD 1423 to 1447,
whose surviving will also directed stone crosses to be erected on routes to
Camborne church in west Cornwall.

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

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 having a more specifically religious
function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners
and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on
Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west
England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type
of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively
few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to
remote moorland locations.
Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross,
in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an
unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and
decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces
of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or
incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was
sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear
decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the
`Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both
faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the
North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed
base or show no evidence for a separate base at all.
Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval
religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval
routeways and settlement patterns. 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 Fair Cross has survived reasonably well in its original location despite
the loss of its head. Its form is characteristic of late medieval cross shafts
and the survival of evidence naming the rector responsible for its erection is
rare. Its location on an important medieval route demonstrates well the major
role of wayside crosses and shows clearly the longevity of many routes still
in use. The subsequent decline of that route and one of its destination towns,
Tregony, also shows well the development of the road network and the changing
hierarchies of settlements. The relationship between wayside crosses and early
thoroughfares is shown at a local level by the cross's location on a route
within the parish to the church at Creed. This monument forms an integral part
of an unusual grouping of such later medieval wayside crosses in this area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Halliday, F E, A History of Cornwall, (1975)
Henderson, C, The Cornish Church Guide, (1928)
Information told to MPP fieldworker by Mr Andrew Langdon, (1993)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 94/SX 04; Mevagissey and Tregony
Source Date: 1984

Source: Historic England

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