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Medieval churchyard cross in Lanteglos by Fowey churchyard, 2m south of the church

A Scheduled Monument in Lanteglos, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.3342 / 50°20'3"N

Longitude: -4.6083 / 4°36'29"W

OS Eastings: 214470.138458

OS Northings: 51510.162084

OS Grid: SX144515

Mapcode National: GBR N7.XB41

Mapcode Global: FRA 1874.VYB

Entry Name: Medieval churchyard cross in Lanteglos by Fowey churchyard, 2m south of the church

Scheduled Date: 18 July 1974

Last Amended: 20 December 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014012

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28436

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Lanteglos

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Lanteglos-by-Fowey

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross in Lanteglos by Fowey
churchyard on the south east coast of Cornwall.

The Lanteglos by Fowey churchyard cross survives as a granite lantern head
(so called because the shape of the rectangular head is of a similar shape to
a lantern), on an octagonal shaft set on a round, millstone base. The cross is
3m high and the principal faces are orientated north west-south east. The head
is elaborately decorated with sculpted figures, those on the sides set within
canopies topped with pointed arches, those on the principal faces set below
two ornately arched holes which completely pierce the head. The top of the
head forms a low roof shape with fractured pinnacles at each corner. On the
north west face there is a crucifixion scene, a figure of Christ hanging from
the cross; on the south west face are the virgin and child. There is a figure
on each side of the head, both of whom are probably saints, possibly St Peter
and St Paul. The four corners of the head form moulded edges to the canopies
on each side. The head is cemented onto an octagonal-section granite shaft.
The shaft measures 2.52m high. Four of the octagonal sides measure 0.23m wide
at the base tapering to 0.15m at the top; the other four sides measure 0.16m
wide at the base tapering to 0.12m at the top. The four narrow sides are
decorated at intervals with various motifs, such as wheels, the space between
motifs being recessed. The north, east, south and west sides of the shaft
slope out above the base, to form the square section moulded foot. The shaft
is set in a large circular mill wheel measuring 1.1m north east-south west by
1.12m north west-south east and 0.2m high. The top of this mill wheel has
incised grooves radiating out from its centre. This lantern cross is situated
to the south of the church porch at Lanteglos by Fowey. The cross was found in
1838 buried in a trench at the west end of the church. It was left lying on
the ground for two or three years before being re-erected in its present
position on a millstone base. The cross head was probably part of the original
churchyard cross, and the shaft may be part of a different cross though they
are of a similar date, the 14th-15th centuries.

The chest tomb grave to the north east of the cross, the headstone to the
south east and the gravel and slate surfaces of the footpaths and steps to the
south west and north west of the cross where they fall within its protective
margin are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath is included.

This cross is Listed Grade II.

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

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone,
mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD).
Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as
stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm
Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for
preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of
sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between
parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate
battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and
protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market
places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some
crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for
example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the
scenes of games or recreational activity.
Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have
numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation
has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and
religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by
iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval
standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The
oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft
often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the
stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a
flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th
centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may
take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more
elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped
crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding
stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the
most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the
stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also
uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the
13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and
cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base,
buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and
head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our
understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our
knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which
survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their
original location, are considered worthy of protection.

The medieval lantern cross in Lanteglos by Fowey churchyard has survived well
and is a good example of a lantern cross, a rare type of churchyard cross in
Cornwall. The later octagonal cross shaft is unusual in being a decorated
example. Despite its minor relocation, the cross retains its original function
as the churchyard cross. The burial of the cross head, and its re-erection on
the shaft and millstone base in the 19th century, illustrates well the
changing attitudes to religion that have prevailed since the Reformation and
their impact on the local landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
May, R G M, Lanteglos by Fowey History of St Wyllow, (1952)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 26793,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 05/15; St Austell and Fowey
Source Date: 1980

Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 05/15; St Austell and Fowey
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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