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Medieval wayside cross head 75m east of Newpark

A Scheduled Monument in St. Clether, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6245 / 50°37'28"N

Longitude: -4.5866 / 4°35'11"W

OS Eastings: 217140.485412

OS Northings: 83722.885026

OS Grid: SX171837

Mapcode National: GBR N8.B3NV

Mapcode Global: FRA 178F.4YH

Entry Name: Medieval wayside cross head 75m east of Newpark

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1932

Last Amended: 18 July 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011826

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24281

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Clether

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Clether

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes the head of a medieval wayside cross situated at a road
junction near Davidstow Moor on the northern edge of Bodmin Moor in north
Cornwall.
The cross is visible as a large round granite `wheel' head, set upright and
firmly embedded in the ground. The head measures 0.79m high by 0.74m wide and
0.26m thick. Each principal face is decorated with a bold relief equal-limbed
cross with expanded ends. This relief cross measures 0.54m across the limbs,
which expand to 0.19m wide at their terminal edges. The relief cross is set
within a peripheral bead, 0.05m wide, on each face. Two rounded bosses project
0.06m beyond the edge of the head on either side at the neck, just below the
base of the head. A third projection, broad and rectangular in plan, rises
0.06m from the top of the head, its upper edge curved parallel with the
perimeter of the head.
The cross head is situated on a wide grass verge at the junction of two minor
roads skirting the northern edge of Bodmin Moor near Davidstow Moor. The cross
head was moved to this present site in 1885 from its former location at the
foot of Roughtor, a distinctive hill 3.75km to the south west, where it had
been noted as a former wayside cross by the historian A G Langdon. In that
original location, the cross formed one of several medieval crosses marking
the moorland routes across north west Bodmin Moor from the broad coastal strip
to the west. Several of these routes converged on the western slope of
Roughtor and were still extant to be marked on the early 19th century first
edition of the 1 inch: 1 mile Ordnance Survey map. Roughtor hill itself was a
focus for medieval religious monuments, among which this cross head was
formerly included, together with a small chapel on the summit and a holy well
on the upper north west slope. In its present location, this cross head is
situated close to the north east end of the main route passing the foot of
Roughtor at Trevillian's Gate.

MAP EXTRACT
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 as 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.

This cross head has survived intact as one of the largest known wheel-shaped
cross heads and the large upper projection is unusual. Despite having been
relocated and for long been parted from its shaft and base, its original
position nearby is known, where it not only demonstrated the major role of
wayside crosses in marking a moorland route but it also formed part of an
important group of broadly contemporary religious monuments. Its original
proximity to that group, whose other monuments have remained in situ on
Roughtor, illustrates well the relationship between medieval religious
attitudes and the topography in this remote and distinctive terrain.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of North Cornwall, (1992)
Other
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 17717,
Title: 1": 1 mile Ordnance Survey Map; sheet 30; Camelford
Source Date: 1889
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 08/18; Pathfinder Series 1325; Camelford
Source Date: 1986
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Source: Historic England

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