Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross in Lanhydrock churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Lanhydrock, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.441 / 50°26'27"N

Longitude: -4.6981 / 4°41'53"W

OS Eastings: 208515.3

OS Northings: 63611.72

OS Grid: SX085636

Mapcode National: GBR N3.PR13

Mapcode Global: FRA 171W.HJB

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in Lanhydrock churchyard

Scheduled Date: 1 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014228

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28443

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Lanhydrock

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Lanhydrock

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross situated to the south east
of the church in Lanhydrock churchyard, in southern central Cornwall.

The churchyard cross is visible as an upright granite shaft with its head in
the shape of an equal limbed cross with widely splayed ends to the limbs. The
cross measures 2.47m in overall height. The head measures 0.62m high by 0.75m
wide and is 0.17m thick. The limbs of the cross head were originally linked by
an outer ring which would have formed a four holed cross, the spaces between
the limbs forming the holes. Traces of this outer ring survive on the sides of
the limbs. Each principal face bears a circular raised boss at the
intersection of the limbs, that on the west face has a double bead around the
base of the boss, that on the east face, a single bead. The limbs are plain,
their original decoration having eroded away. The head is joined to the shaft
by a wide band of cement, up to 0.07m thick. The shaft measures 0.4m wide at
the base tapering to 0.32m at the neck, and is 0.22m thick at the base
widening slightly to 0.25m at the neck. The shaft has a 0.1m wide bead on all
four corners. The west face bears a continuous panel of figure of eight
interlaced knots down the length of the shaft, the east face displays a
continuous panel of scroll work decoration. The north and south sides bear
traces of interlace decoration.

This churchyard cross at some period in the past was thrown down and left
lying around for many years. During this time, the outer ring was removed from
the head and the head and shaft fractured. Prior to 1850 the cross was
repaired and re-erected in its present position in Lanhydrock churchyard.
The historian Langdon in 1896 dated the cross to the 13th century by the style
of the scrollwork decoration on the shaft. More recent studies of churchyard
crosses suggest that this cross is of tenth century date, and may have been
erected before the mid tenth century.

The gravel footpath passing to the east, south and west of the cross but
within its protective margin is excluded from the scheduling, although 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 Lanhydrock churchyard cross has survived reasonably well. It forms an
unusual example of an elaborately decorated four-holed cross as it has lost
its outer ring which would have formed the holes between the limbs. The
pulling down of the cross and its neglect until the mid 19th century, when it
was re-erected in the churchyard, illustrate well the changing attitudes to
religion that have prevailed since the Reformation and the impact of these
changes on the local landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Pearce, S M, The Kingdom of Dumnonia, (1978)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 06/16; Pathfinder Series 1347
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

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