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Bodilly Cross, at Bodilly Veor

A Scheduled Monument in Wendron, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1448 / 50°8'41"N

Longitude: -5.2635 / 5°15'48"W

OS Eastings: 166926.563933

OS Northings: 32294.534069

OS Grid: SW669322

Mapcode National: GBR Z2.7SJQ

Mapcode Global: VH12X.QM7B

Entry Name: Bodilly Cross, at Bodilly Veor

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1932

Last Amended: 27 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010851

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24309

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Wendron

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Wendron

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Bodilly Cross,
and a protective margin around it, situated beside the road at Bodilly Veor, a
hamlet north west of Wendron in south west Cornwall.
The Bodilly Cross survives as an upright granite slab rising 1.12m above
ground level, set in a granite base which is almost completely covered by a
thick layer of turf. The head measures 0.5m wide by 0.3m thick, its upper edge
is a roughly fashioned curve in contrast to the dressed sides of the shaft.
The east principal face of the head bears a deeply recessed equal limbed
upright cross, 0.39m high by 0.34m wide. The west principal face bears a cross
motif level with the background surface and delineated by four raised
triangular projections. These projections have rounded outer edges, their
right-angled inner sides forming the outline of the cross. The shaft is 0.51m
wide by 0.36m thick, and is undecorated except for two incised letters: on the
north face an `H', on the south face an `R', indicating that the cross has at
some time been reused as a boundary stone.
The historian Langdon in 1896 states that the cross was sunk about 0.6m in the
ground, the base consisting of rough blocks of granite. This base is almost
entirely covered by a thick layer of turf, but at the lower end of the shaft's
west side a large granite block is visible, measuring 0.16m high, 1m wide and
0.54m thick.
The Bodilly Cross is now situated on a wide grass verge beside the modern
minor road at Bodilly Veor, a hamlet to the north west of Wendron in south
west Cornwall. The cross is on a direct route radiating from the parish
church at Wendron and is close to the site of a medieval chapel at Bodilly
dedicated to St Henry. The direct church path from Wendron passing by this
cross is preserved by a combination of public footpaths and modern roads.
Until 1855, the Bodilly Cross was located at a crossroads at Farms Common, 2km
to the north east, on the next radial route out from Wendron to the north and
on what was the main medieval and later route through this part of the Cornish
peninsula. The Bodilly Cross had been a prominent feature there and Langdon in
1896 records that this cross was known locally as the `Wendron God' and that
an older resident recalled that people `crossed themselves' when passing it, a
custom harking back to the original religious purpose of medieval wayside
crosses. In 1855 the cross was thrown down, later to be re-erected at its
original site. About 1865 it was again removed and buried in a hedge close by.
In 1886 William Moyle, the farmer of the Bodilly Estate, searched for and
found this cross, having it re-erected in its present position.
The metal peg and wire guy cable securing the nearby telegraph pole north west
of the cross but 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

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 Bodilly Cross has survived well. It forms a good and complete example of
the rare sub-group of Cornish wayside crosses formed as simple slabs. The
designs employed are unusual. Although relocated from its original position,
its present and original locations are on radial church paths within the
parish which, together with its known former situation at a crossroads on an
important medieval and later regional route, shows well the relationship
between such crosses and early thoroughfares. The recorded local tradition
that the cross was called the `Wendron God' and that passers-by `crossed
themselves' demonstrates an unusually strong survival of the reverence in
which some wayside crosses were held.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Henderson, C, The Cornish Church Guide, (1928)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
consulted 1994, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 30308,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

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