Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross in Holy Trinity Church churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in St Austell, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.3384 / 50°20'18"N

Longitude: -4.7916 / 4°47'29"W

OS Eastings: 201447.529

OS Northings: 52445.092

OS Grid: SX014524

Mapcode National: GBR ZX.9YHJ

Mapcode Global: FRA 08V4.P2D

Entry Name: Wayside cross in Holy Trinity Church churchyard

Scheduled Date: 19 February 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014897

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28464

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St Austell

Built-Up Area: St Austell

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Austell

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated within Holy Trinity
churchyard at St Austell in southern central Cornwall.
The wayside cross survives as an upright granite head and shaft set in a
modern three stepped base. The cross-head has unenclosed arms, a form called a
`Latin' cross, its principal faces orientated north-south. The overall height
of the monument is 1.08m. The head measures 0.33m wide across the side arms,
each of which are 0.19m high by 0.06m wide and 0.1m thick. The upper limb is
0.1m high, 0.24m wide and is 0.11m thick. The head displays an incised equal
limbed cross on both faces. The shaft measures 0.21m wide and is 0.18m thick
at the base tapering to 0.1m below the side arms. The shaft is cemented into
the modern base. The octagonal three step granite base measures 0.33m high.
The top step measures 0.34m east-west by 0.34m north-south and is 0.07m high.
The middle step measures 0.54m east-west by 0.54m north-south and is 0.11m
high. The lowest step measures 0.79m east-west by 0.79m north-south and is
0.15m high. The south face of these steps bears an inscription which reads
`This ancient cross Found in 1879 on the Manor of Treverbyn was erected here
This wayside cross is located to the east of Holy Trinity church at St
Austell. It was found on the Treverbyn Estate in 1879, though there is some
dispute over its exact find spot. Treverbyn is 4.5km north east of St Austell.
A local historian, Mr Wills, believed that it had been found on the boundary
between the two manors of Treverbyn and Tewington. The Reverend Iago stated
that it had been found close to the parish boundary between St Austell and
Luxulyan, on a direct route between Tywardreath where there was a medieval
priory, and the site of an early chapel at Treverbyn. In 1879 it was removed
to the churchyard and in 1891 re-erected on a modern base in its present
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.

This wayside cross in Holy Trinity churchyard has survived well and is a good
example of the rather uncommon `Latin' cross type. It may have originally
marked a boundary between two manors or between the parish of St Austell and
the adjoining parish of Luxulyan. Its re-erection 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)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 05/15; St Austell and Fowey
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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