Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross in Gunwalloe churchyard, 0.75m east of the church

A Scheduled Monument in Gunwalloe, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.039 / 50°2'20"N

Longitude: -5.2688 / 5°16'7"W

OS Eastings: 166035.3025

OS Northings: 20546.945

OS Grid: SW660205

Mapcode National: GBR Z1.4R1M

Mapcode Global: VH13H.M8GY

Entry Name: Wayside cross in Gunwalloe churchyard, 0.75m east of the church

Scheduled Date: 12 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015063

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29221

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Gunwalloe

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Cury with Gunwalloe

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated to the east of the
church at Gunwalloe on the Lizard peninsula in south west Cornwall.
The wayside cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as an upright granite
shaft with a round, `wheel' head mounted on a square granite base. The overall
height of the monument is 0.82m. The principal faces are orientated north
west-south east. The head measures 0.41m high by 0.46m wide and is 0.17m
thick. The south east face bears a relief equal limbed cross; the north west
face is plain. The shaft measures 0.21m high by 0.3m wide and is 0.19m thick.
The shaft is cemented into an almost square granite base, measuring 0.43m
north east-south west by 0.48m north west-south east and 0.2m high.
This wayside cross is located by the east corner of Gunwalloe church. Its
original site is unknown, but it is believed to have acted as a waymarker on
the path across the stream which crosses the beach to the south east of the
church. At some time in the past the cross was thrown down and local tradition
stated that the cross was lying at the bottom of this stream. The Rev Cummings
in 1875 discovered that the cross and base had been removed to Penrose, 5.5km
north west of Gunwalloe church, for preservation. The cross was returned to
Gunwalloe and was re-erected in its present location in the churchyard.
The gutters along the outer edges of the church walls to the north and west 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 in Gunwalloe churchyard has survived well and is a good
example of a wheel headed cross. It probably acted as a waymarker on a
church path. Its removal from Gunwalloe to Penrose, and later re-erection in
the churchyard at Gunwalloe, demonstrates 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)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 52/62; Pathfinder Series 1369
Source Date: 1983

Source: Historic England

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