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Churchyard cross in Lanivet churchyard, 5m west of the church

A Scheduled Monument in Lanivet, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4449 / 50°26'41"N

Longitude: -4.763 / 4°45'46"W

OS Eastings: 203919.63386

OS Northings: 64209.959412

OS Grid: SX039642

Mapcode National: GBR N1.P6CS

Mapcode Global: FRA 07XW.86Z

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in Lanivet churchyard, 5m west of the church

Scheduled Date: 11 November 1954

Last Amended: 18 January 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014229

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28444

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Lanivet

Built-Up Area: Lanivet

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Lanivet

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross situated to the west of
Lanivet church in southern central Cornwall.

The churchyard cross is visible as an upright granite shaft with a round or
`wheel' head, measuring 3m in overall height. The head measures 0.62m high and
is fully pierced by four holes creating an equal limbed cross with widely
splayed arms linked by an outer ring. The principal faces are orientated
east-west. Both principal faces are decorated. The limbs are decorated with
triquetra knots, these have been eroded away on the upper and right hand limbs
on the west face. The edges of the limbs are outlined with a single bead. At
the intersection of the limbs is a central round boss with a bead around its
base. The upper limbs extend slightly beyond the ring, and are straight edged;
usually the edges curve in line with the head. The head is joined to the shaft
by cement. The shaft measures 2.38m high by 0.45m wide at the base, tapering
to 0.42m at the neck and is 0.37m thick at the base. The shaft has a 0.11m
wide bead on all four corners. All four sides of the shaft are decorated. The
east face bears a continuous panel of scroll work, and the west face bears a
continuous panel of interlace decoration. The sides are also decorated with
continuous panels of interlace designs. The shaft is set into a base which is
completely covered by a layer of turf.

This churchyard cross is believed to be in its original location. The head was
at some period in the past fractured from the shaft, but has been repaired
with a cement join. This is one of two churchyard crosses in Lanivet
churchyard, the only other churchyard with two such elaborate crosses is at
Sancreed in west Cornwall. It has been suggested that this cross is of 13th
century date by the carefully executed scroll work decoration on the east face
of the shaft, but more recent studies of churchyard crosses suggest that it is
tenth century.

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.

This churchyard cross at Lanivet has survived well. It forms a good and
complete example of an elaborately decorated four-holed, wheel-headed cross.
It has several rare features including the straight ends to the limbs, and the
carefully executed scrollwork and interlace designs on the shaft, which date
it to the tenth century. This cross maintains its original function as a
churchyard cross, in its original location.

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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