Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross in St Allen churchyard, 2m east of the church

A Scheduled Monument in St. Allen, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.315 / 50°18'54"N

Longitude: -5.0597 / 5°3'35"W

OS Eastings: 182262.394101

OS Northings: 50598.87214

OS Grid: SW822505

Mapcode National: GBR ZF.T63N

Mapcode Global: FRA 0896.DN3

Entry Name: Wayside cross in St Allen churchyard, 2m east of the church

Scheduled Date: 12 September 1950

Last Amended: 12 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015075

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29207

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Allen

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Kenwyn with St Allen

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated to the south east
of the church at St Allen in west Cornwall. This is one of three crosses now
present in the churchyard.

The wayside cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as an upright granite
shaft with a round, `wheel' head mounted on a modern granite base. The overall
height of the monument is 1.1m. The principal faces are orientated north west-
south east. The head measures 0.42m high by 0.41m wide and is 0.2m thick. Both
principal faces are decorated. The south east face bears a relief equal limbed
cross with slightly splayed ends to the limbs enclosed within a narrow bead
0.05m wide, around the outer edge of the head. The north west face is
decorated with a relief Latin cross; the lower limb extends down the length of
the shaft. A narrow bead, 0.06m wide, passes around the outer edge of the head
and continues down the shaft either side of the lower limb of the cross motif.
There is a fracture on the north side of the top of the head on this face. The
shaft measures 0.42m high by 0.24m wide at the base widening slightly to 0.28m
at the top and is 0.22m thick. At the neck, below the head, are two rounded
projections one at each side of the shaft. The shaft is cemented into a
rectangular block of granite measuring 0.54m north east-south west by 0.38m
north west-south east, and 0.26m high.

This wayside cross was found buried in the churchyard close to the east end
of the church in 1862 when the grave of Mary Morris, the rector's wife, was
being dug. It was re-erected in 1912 on a block of granite at the south east
corner of the church, near where it was discovered.

The gravel surface of the footpath passing to the south west and south east
of the cross, and the drain to the north west, 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

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 Allen churchyard has survived well and is a good
example of a wheel headed cross. Its deliberate burial in the churchyard, its
rediscovery and re-erection there, 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, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No.32071.24,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 85/95; Pathfinder 1353
Source Date: 1983

Source: Historic England

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