Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross in Tresmeer churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Tresmeer, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.6602 / 50°39'36"N

Longitude: -4.5004 / 4°30'1"W

OS Eastings: 223368.274

OS Northings: 87486.273

OS Grid: SX233874

Mapcode National: GBR ND.7MV5

Mapcode Global: FRA 17GB.8JB

Entry Name: Wayside cross in Tresmeer churchyard

Scheduled Date: 30 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014222

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28462

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Tresmeer

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Tresmere

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated within the churchyard
at Tresmeer in north Cornwall.
The wayside cross survives as an upright head and shaft standing to a height
of 0.51m. The cross-head has unenclosed arms, a form called a `Latin' cross,
its principal faces orientated east-west. The head measures 0.49m wide across
the side arms, each of which are 0.14m high and 0.09m thick. Each principal
face bears a Latin cross in high relief with slightly splayed ends to the
limbs. The shaft measures 0.2m wide and is 0.12m thick.
The cross is located just beyond the east end of the church between two
graves. This wayside cross was first recorded in 1858 by the antiquarian
Blight as being near the site of the old parsonage house near Penpol, Laneast,
3.5km to the south of Tresmeer. In 1866 it was moved from this site, probably
to Laneast churchyard. The historian, Langdon, in 1886 saw the cross in
Laneast churchyard, but by 1890 it had been removed. By 1896 when Langdon
visited Tresmeer churchyard the cross was acting as a memorial stone on the
grave of Reverend Morgan.
The grave with its headstone to the north west of the cross but within its
protective margin is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
is included. The 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

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.

This wayside cross in Tresmeer churchyard has survived well and is a good
example of the rather uncommon `Latin' cross type. The relief Latin cross on
both principal faces is unusual. Its various re-locations in Laneast parish
and its re-erection in the churchyard at Tresmeer in the 19th century
demonstrates 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 2416.1,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 28/38; Pathfinder Series 1326
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

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