Ancient Monuments

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

A Scheduled Monument in St. Allen, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.3151 / 50°18'54"N

Longitude: -5.0603 / 5°3'37"W

OS Eastings: 182222.379914

OS Northings: 50602.77965

OS Grid: SW822506

Mapcode National: GBR ZD.HCXW

Mapcode Global: FRA 0896.DDD

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

Scheduled Date: 12 September 1950

Last Amended: 12 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015076

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29208

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 west
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 1.24m. The principal faces are orientated north
east-south west. The head measures 0.54m high by 0.64m wide and is 0.31m
thick. Both principal faces are decorated. The south west face bears a cross
in light relief, with slightly expanded ends to the upper and lower limbs. The
lower limb extends down the length of the shaft. The north east face is
decorated with four shallow indentations, 0.06m in diameter by 0.03m deep. One
indentation is at the centre of the head, one is at the top and the other two
are either side of the central indentation. These indentations are joined by
two incised lines forming a cross shape; the vertical line continues down the
length of the shaft. The shaft measures 0.2m high by 0.46m wide and is 0.33m
thick. The shaft is cemented into a large, rectangular block of granite
measuring 0.61m north west-south east by 0.48m north east-south west, and is
0.5m high. There is a plaque on the base with an inscription which reads
`This cross taken from Trefronick was presented and erected here by Obed
Lanyon, of this parish 1911'.

The historian Langdon in 1896 recorded that this cross was in use as a step at
the back door of Trefronick farmhouse, 1km north of St Allen church. In 1909
Langdon visited Trefronick and arranged with the owner, Mr Lanyon for the
stone to be removed and restored. In 1911 the cross was re-erected in the
churchyard on a modern base.

The gravel surface of the footpath passing to the south west and south east of
the cross, falls within its protective margin and is excluded from the
scheduling 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 Allen churchyard has survived reasonably well and is
a good example of a wheel headed cross. It has unusual decoration with an
incised Latin cross linking four indentations on one face. Its reuse as a
step and subsequent removal to the churchyard at St Allen and re-erection
there 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, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 85/95; Pathfinder 1353
Source Date: 1983

Source: Historic England

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