Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross in St Minver churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in St. Minver Highlands, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5579 / 50°33'28"N

Longitude: -4.875 / 4°52'29"W

OS Eastings: 196459.648729

OS Northings: 77073.34968

OS Grid: SW964770

Mapcode National: GBR ZR.WSWZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 07PL.DLP

Entry Name: Wayside cross in St Minver churchyard

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014224

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28438

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Minver Highlands

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Minver with St Enodoc and St Michael Rock

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated within the churchyard
at St Minver, in north Cornwall.
The wayside cross survives as an upright granite head and shaft. The head has
unenclosed arms, a form called a `Latin' cross, its principal faces orientated
east-west. The overall height of the monument is 0.89m. The head measures
0.48m wide across the side arms, each of which are 0.14m high, and 0.13m
thick. The upper limb is 0.14m high, 0.2m wide tapering slightly to 0.17m at
the top and is 0.12m thick tapering to 0.05m at the top. The shaft measures
0.57m high and is 0.28m wide at the base tapering slightly to 0.26m below the
side arms, and is 0.15m thick.
This wayside cross was removed in 1879 from a field on Treglines Farm, 1.75km
to the north west of St Minver church, and re-erected in its present position
in the churchyard. It is believed to have marked a route known as the
`Fisherman's Path' between Port Isaac on the north coast and Brea Hill.
The gravestone to the west of the cross, where it falls within the cross's
protective margin, is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is
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

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 wayside cross in St Minver churchyard has survived well and is a good
example of the rather uncommon `Latin' cross type. In its original position
the cross functioned as a waymarker on a route along the coast. Its removal to
the churchyard 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 26275,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 87/97; Pathfinder Series 1337
Source Date: 1981

Source: Historic England

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