Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross in Lansallos churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Polperro, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.3358 / 50°20'9"N

Longitude: -4.5701 / 4°34'12"W

OS Eastings: 217195.25

OS Northings: 51592.816

OS Grid: SX171515

Mapcode National: GBR N9.X7XP

Mapcode Global: FRA 1894.Z7Z

Entry Name: Wayside cross in Lansallos churchyard

Scheduled Date: 9 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014235

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28465

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Polperro

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Lansallos

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated within the churchyard
at Lansallos, on the south east coast of Cornwall.
The wayside cross survives as an upright granite head and shaft standing to a
height of 0.8m. The cross-head has unenclosed arms, a form called a `Latin'
cross, its principal faces orientated east-west. The head measures 0.74m wide
across the side arms, each of which are 0.27m wide and 0.16m thick. The upper
limb extends 0.27m high above the side limbs and is 0.34m wide expanding to
0.48m wide, the top tapering in to 0.43m wide. There is a shallow slot, 0.04m
deep and 0.09m long by 0.07m wide in the top of the head. The shaft is 0.28m
wide and 0.17m thick. Each principal face is decorated with an incised Latin
cross which extends down the length of the shaft.
The wayside cross is situated to the west of the church at Lansallos. It was
found lying in a field 200m to the north west of the church; the historian
Langdon recorded it in this position. In 1919 the cross was moved to the
churchyard and erected in its present position. It has been suggested that the
cross marked the parish boundary on a footpath from Lansallos to Lanteglos by
The grave with its headstone and surrounding kerb to the east of the cross and
the grave with its headstone and surrounding kerb to the north west where they
lie within the protective margin around the cross, are excluded from the
scheduling but 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

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 Lansallos churchyard has survived well and is a good
example of the rather uncommon `Latin' cross type. The unusual shape of the
upper limb is unique, and the cross motif is the largest incised Latin cross
on a Cornish cross. It may have originally marked the parish boundary on a
footpath between Lansallos and its adjoining parish of Lanteglos by Fowey. Its
re-erection in the early 20th century in the churchyard 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)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 37193,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 05/15; St Austell and Fowey
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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