Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Churchyard cross in St Mylor churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Mylor, Cornwall

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 50.177 / 50°10'37"N

Longitude: -5.0542 / 5°3'15"W

OS Eastings: 182025.689

OS Northings: 35236.275

OS Grid: SW820352

Mapcode National: GBR ZG.2TTL

Mapcode Global: FRA 089K.8SM

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Mylor churchyard

Scheduled Date: 12 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015065

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29225

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Mylor

Built-Up Area: Mylor Bridge

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Mylor

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross situated to the south of St
Mylor church on the south coast of west Cornwall.

The churchyard cross, which is Listed Grade II*, is visible as an upright
granite shaft with a round or `wheel' head. The overall height of the monument
is 3.2m. The principal faces are orientated east-west. Both principal faces
are decorated with an equal limbed cross with slightly splayed ends to the
limbs, the limbs being formed by four deep triangular sinkings. A circular
boss projects from the intersection of the limbs. The north side of the head
has been fractured, to bring the head in line with the shaft. The shaft
measures 2.39m high by 0.36m wide and is 0.37m thick. The shaft is decorated
with an incised design of concentric circles on both principal faces. At the
neck, there are two rounded projections or bosses, one to either side of the
shaft. Each boss is decorated with a single incised circle on each face. Both
of these bosses have been fractured along their sides.

This churchyard cross was found buried head down in use as a flying buttress
against the south side of the church. It was re-erected in the churchyard in
1870 during the rebuilding of the church. It has been suggested that this
cross is a reused menhir or standing stone. It is the tallest cross in
Cornwall, although 2.1m of its length is buried. The historian Langdon in 1896
recorded a local tradition that the cross originally marked St Mylor's grave,
on or near to its present site.

The metalled surface of the footpath passing to the south of the cross, the
stone vase to the west, the iron railings to the south east and the
gravestones to the north fall within the cross's 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

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.

The churchyard cross in St Mylor churchyard has survived well, complete with
its head and shaft, despite being reused as a buttress. It is a good example
of a wheel headed cross, and is the tallest cross recorded in Cornwall. Its
projections at the neck are unusual, as is the almost square shaft, and the
decoration. The reuse of the cross as a buttress, and its re-erection in the
churchyard in the 19th century demonstrates well the changes in attitude to
religion and its impact on the local landscape since the medieval period. This
cross maintains its original function as a churchyard cross near its original

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 24395.2,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 83; Pathfinder Series 1366
Source Date: 1984

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.