Ancient Monuments

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Trevalga Cross in Trevalga churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Trevalga, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.6782 / 50°40'41"N

Longitude: -4.7173 / 4°43'2"W

OS Eastings: 208114.763367

OS Northings: 90022.31975

OS Grid: SX081900

Mapcode National: GBR N3.6L2C

Mapcode Global: FRA 1708.VDN

Entry Name: Trevalga Cross in Trevalga churchyard

Scheduled Date: 13 February 1958

Last Amended: 11 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014214

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28453

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Trevalga

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Trevalga

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Trevalga Cross,
situated to the south of the church in Trevalga churchyard on the north coast
of Cornwall.
The Trevalga Cross survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel'
head set on a rectangular, low mound or base. The overall height of the
monument is 1.57m. The principal faces are orientated east-west. The head
measures 0.43m high by 0.48m wide and is 0.27m thick. Both principal faces
bear a relief equal limbed cross: that on the west face is inclined to the
left, that on the east face has slightly splayed ends to the limbs. The shaft
measures 1.14m high by 0.4m wide at the base tapering to 0.33m at the neck,
and is 0.27m thick at the base tapering slightly to 0.25m at the neck. The
base is almost completely overgrown by a layer of turf. A low slate wall,
built in herringbone pattern, forms an edge to the base mound.
The Trevalga Cross is located to the south of the church. Prior to 1868 it
acted as a waymarker on a church path. In 1868 it was removed to Trevalga
churchyard and re-erected in its present position. The historian Langdon
suggested that this cross is an early example of a wheel headed cross as it is
crudely executed and the head is elliptical in shape rather than round.
The gravel surface of the footpath passing to the south and west of the cross,
the grave with its chest tomb to the east and the grave with its headstone and
the memorial slab to the south, where these fall within the protective margin
of the cross, are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is

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 Trevalga Cross has survived well, and is a good example of a wheel-headed
cross. The elliptical shape of the head and the crudely executed cross motifs
suggest that this is an early example of a wheel headed cross. In its original
location this cross functioned as a waymarker on a church path. Its removal to
the churchyard and re-erection there in the 19th century illustrates well the
changing attitudes to religion and their impact on the local landscape since
the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of North Cornwall, (1992)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 701.1,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 08/18: Pathfinder Series 1325
Source Date: 1986

Source: Historic England

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