Ancient Monuments

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Meruny Cross, 200m SSW of Merther-Uny Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Wendron, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1177 / 50°7'3"N

Longitude: -5.2161 / 5°12'57"W

OS Eastings: 170187.419557

OS Northings: 29130.966925

OS Grid: SW701291

Mapcode National: GBR Z4.YLY7

Mapcode Global: VH134.J9VM

Entry Name: Meruny Cross, 200m SSW of Merther-Uny Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1932

Last Amended: 3 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010853

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24311

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 locally as the Meruny
Cross, and a protective margin around it, situated on a hillslope beside the
road west of Mertheruny Mill. The cross is on a route from Wendron to the
adjoining parish of Constantine in south west Cornwall, at the point where
that route was crossed by a former track along the hillside to the medieval
chapel of Merther-Uny, 250m to the north east, in whose churchyard is another
erect medieval cross. The Meruny Cross is also a Grade II Listed Building.
The Meruny Cross survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel'
head standing to a height of 1.92m above ground level. The shaft is set firmly
in a base-slab, recorded by earlier writers but now fully beneath the ground
surface and covered by a thick turf. The head measures 0.44m high by 0.52m
wide and is 0.23m thick. The north west face of the head has a narrow
perimeter chamfer. Each face of the head bears a Latin cross motif delineated
by incised lines. In the centre of each principal face and its cross is a
small shallow hole 0.03m in diameter and 0.01m deep. The south east face has
an additional incised line in each quadrant, running parallel to the outline
of the cross motif. The lower limb of the incised cross motif is extended as a
delineated rib down the shaft on both principal faces. On the south east face
the rib is markedly off the midline to the right and terminates in an expanded
foot close to the base of the shaft. On the north west face the rib curves
slightly and has been damaged by an incised Ordnance Survey bench mark 0.92m
below the neck of the shaft. The subrectangular section shaft measures 1.46m
high, tapering from 0.34m wide by 0.25m thick at the base to 0.3m wide and
0.23m thick at the neck. Each corner of the shaft has a 0.06m wide chamfer.

The Meruny Cross is situated near the brow of Polglaze hill, south west of the
medieval chapel and cemetery of St Uny, on a radial route south east from the
parish church at Wendron, linking it with the neighbouring parish of
Constantine. The historian Langdon in 1896 recorded that there was formerly a
road leading from this cross to the medieval chapel at Merther-Uny. The course
of this former road is continued south along the hillside by a surviving
public footpath towards the headwaters of the Helford estuary at Gweek.
Langdon also recorded a local tradition that a man was buried beneath this

The metalled surface of the modern road passing south west of the cross but
within the area of the protective margin is 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 Meruny Cross has survived well in its original position and forms a good
example of a wheel headed wayside cross, bearing a distinctive and unusual
style of decoration. The presence of this cross as a marker on the crossing of
routes leading to the nearby medieval chapel of St Uny and the parish church
at Wendron demonstrates well the major role of wayside crosses and shows the
longevity of many roads still in use. The recorded tradition of burial
associated with this cross shows one example of the part such crosses may play
in local folklore.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Thomas, A C, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Merther Uny, Wendron, , Vol. 7, (1968), 81-2
consulted 1994, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 24540,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

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