Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross-head in Sancreed churchyard on churchyard wall by west gate

A Scheduled Monument in Sancreed, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1081 / 50°6'29"N

Longitude: -5.6097 / 5°36'34"W

OS Eastings: 142004.976

OS Northings: 29350.609

OS Grid: SW420293

Mapcode National: GBR DXJD.H7T

Mapcode Global: VH05G.QK80

Entry Name: Wayside cross-head in Sancreed churchyard on churchyard wall by west gate

Scheduled Date: 27 October 1967

Last Amended: 12 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015055

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29211

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Sancreed

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Sancreed

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross-head located in Sancreed
churchyard on the Penwith peninsula in west Cornwall. This is one of five
crosses now present in the churchyard.
The wayside cross-head, which is Listed Grade II, survives as a round, `wheel'
head mounted on the boundary wall of the churchyard by the west entrance. The
overall height of the monument is 0.43m. The principal faces are orientated
east-west. The head measures 0.43m high by 0.64m wide and is 0.2m thick. Both
principal faces bear a relief equal limbed cross with slightly splayed ends to
the limbs. There is a fracture across the lower part of the head, and most of
the lower limb is missing.
This cross-head was found by the vicar of Sancreed, the Rev Basset Rogers, in
1887, in a ditch on Trannack estate, 1.25km north of Sancreed church. The
occupier of the farm was about to use it as building stone for a hedge, but
allowed the vicar to remove the cross-head. It was re-erected on the
churchyard wall, by the west entrance to the churchyard, in its present
location. It is not known exactly where the cross was originally sited, but it
is believed that it marked a route from Trannack to the church at Sancreed.
The two iron bars of an archway over the entrance to the churchyard to the
south east of the cross, fall within its protective margin and are excluded
from the scheduling, but the ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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-head in Sancreed churchyard has survived reasonably well
and is a good example of a wheel headed cross-head. In its original site it
probably acted as a waymarker on a route within the parish to the church. Its
discovery, removal to the churchyard and re-erection there in the later
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)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 28712.61,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 32/42; Pathfinder Series 1368
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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