Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross in St Gerran's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Gerrans, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1783 / 50°10'41"N

Longitude: -4.9809 / 4°58'51"W

OS Eastings: 187266.783

OS Northings: 35166.812

OS Grid: SW872351

Mapcode National: GBR ZL.1WBY

Mapcode Global: FRA 08GK.1D0

Entry Name: Wayside cross in St Gerran's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 12 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015072

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29202

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Gerrans

Built-Up Area: Gerrans

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Gerrans

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated to the south of St
Gerran's Church on the Roseland peninsula on the south coast of Cornwall.
The wayside cross survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel'
head mounted on a modern granite base. The overall height of the monument is
2.54m. The principal faces are orientated east-west. The head measures 0.58m
high by 0.6m wide and is 0.18m thick. Both principal faces bear an equal
limbed cross in low relief. The shaft measures 1.52m high by 0.37m wide at the
base tapering to 0.3m at the top and is 0.22m thick. The shaft is cemented
into a large, rectangular block of granite measuring 0.62m north-south by
1.09m east-west, and 0.44m high.
This wayside cross is located to the south of St Gerran's Church, close to the
south porch of the church. It has been suggested that the cross was removed
from a nearby church path, and reused as a coping stone on the churchyard
wall. Around 1850 it was removed from the wall and re-erected in the
churchyard on a modern granite base in its present location.
The gravel surface of the footpath passing to the north of the cross, the
slate edged flower beds to the south and west, and the granite steps to the
west are excluded from the scheduling, where they fall within its protective
margin, but the ground beneath is included.

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 St Gerran's churchyard has survived well and is a good
example of a wheel headed cross. It probably marked a nearby church path, and
is the only surviving cross in the Roseland peninsula. Its reuse as a coping
stone on the churchyard wall and its subsequent re-erection on a modern base
in the churchyard 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)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 83; Pathfinder Series 1366
Source Date: 1984

Source: Historic England

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