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Early Christian memorial stone and wayside cross in St Clement's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in St. Clement, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.2556 / 50°15'20"N

Longitude: -5.0166 / 5°0'59"W

OS Eastings: 185066.716425

OS Northings: 43865.716802

OS Grid: SW850438

Mapcode National: GBR ZH.85GB

Mapcode Global: FRA 08CC.5FT

Entry Name: Early Christian memorial stone and wayside cross in St Clement's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1932

Last Amended: 4 September 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015459

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29203

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Clement

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Clement

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes an early Christian memorial stone, also known as the
`Ignioc Stone', with a medieval wayside cross carved on the top, situated
within the churchyard at St Clement on the River Tresillian in the south of
The early Christian memorial stone, which is Listed Grade II*, survives as an
upright granite shaft 2.77m high with principal faces orientated north-south.
The memorial stone measures 0.4m wide and is 0.38m thick at the base tapering
to 0.28m at the top. The west side of the stone narrows to 0.26m wide at 1.4m
above ground level, where the stone has been fractured. On the south face
1.4m above ground level is a 0.05m diameter cement filled hole with a lump of
iron embedded in it, the remains of a gate fitting, evidence of its former
reuse as a gatepost. The south face of the memorial stone displays two
inscriptions, the lower one runs down the centre of the stone and reads in
large capitals `VITALI FILI TORRICI' which translates as Vitalus son of
Torricus. The formula employed in the Latin inscription and the style of the
lettering combine to suggest a late sixth century to early seventh century
date for this memorial stone. The other, probably later inscription is
inscribed in smaller letters on the upper part of the south face, and reads
`IGNIOC' a personal name. This inscription may have been added when the cross
head was carved on the stone. Both inscriptions are clearly visible. It has
been stated that the stone had an inscription in Ogham script down each side.
Ogham is a script based on the Latin alphabet and formed of straight strokes.
The inscription is believed to have read `Vitali Maqvi' on the west side and
`Torrici' on the east side; it is no longer visible.
Above the Ignioc inscription a medieval wayside cross head has been carved on
both principal faces of the stone. Each face bears an equal limbed cross with
a bead around the outer edge of the head; the limbs of the cross are slightly
splayed at the ends and extend across the bead.
The first record of this early Christian memorial stone was in 1754 when the
local antiquarian Borlase recorded it in use as a gatepost in the vicarage
grounds. It is believed that the memorial stone originally stood in a field
close to the churchyard known as `The Sanctuaries'. The stone was removed from
the vicarage grounds in 1938 and re-erected in its present position in the
churchyard. There is a plaque in front of the stone inscribed `The Ignioc
Stone First scheduled as a national monument 22 March 1932 when it stood in
the vicarage drive from which it was removed and re-erected here 8 November
1938. Re-scheduled 12 January 1939'.
The memorial slabs to the north west, north and east of the early Christian
memorial stone, the brick edged flower bed to the west and the gravel surface
of the footpath passing to the south of the memorial stone are excluded from
the scheduling where they fall within the stone's protective margin, but the
ground beneath is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Early Christian memorial stones are inscribed free-standing stones
commemorating named individuals and dating to the early medieval period (c.AD
400-1100). The stones are erect, roughly dressed or undressed slabs, bearing
incised inscriptions, usually set in one or more vertical lines down one face
of the slab, although in four examples the text runs horizontally across the
slab. All except two recorded texts are in Latin and, depending on their date,
may be inscribed in a script of Romanised capitals or an insular form of lower
case lettering called miniscules, or a mixture of the two. Six stones also
have inscriptions in an Irish script called ogham. Most inscriptions are
simple, bearing a personal name and often stating a family relationship, such
as `filii' (son of), to another personal name. Fourteen stones contain
elements of the simple inscriptions within a longer, complex inscriptive
formula, often including the phrase `hic iacet' (here lies). Additional
decoration is found on very few stones and usually comprises a cross within a
circle. Early examples, prior to the eighth century AD, may bear an early
Christian symbol called a Chi Rho monogram, compounding the first two Greek
letters of the name `Christ'.
Early Christian memorial stones are largely restricted to areas which retained
Celtic traditions during the early medieval period, with at least 139 recorded
from Wales. In England, they are almost entirely confined to the south-west
peninsula; of the 56 recorded examples, 37 occur in Cornwall, 11 in Devon, a
group of 5 in Dorset, and single examples in Somerset, Hampshire and
Shropshire. As a very rare and diverse class of monument important for our
understanding of the social organisation and the development of literacy and
Christianity during the early medieval period, all surviving groundfast
examples of early Christian memorial stones are considered worthy of

The early Christian memorial stone in St Clement's churchyard has survived
well. It is a good example of its class, and is unusual in that it also bears
a later inscription, and the top of the stone was carved to form a medieval
wayside cross. This stone has recieved mention in regional reviews on the
nature of early Christianity. The inscriptions are of importance from a period
generally lacking in such historical references.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bampfield, GC, St Clement, the Church of Moresk
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Pearce, S M, The Kingdom of Dumnonia, (1978)
Pearce, S M, The Kingdom of Dumnonia, (1978)
Pearce, S M, The Kingdom of Dumnonia, (1978)
Ralegh Radford, CA, The Early Christian Inscriptions of Dumnonia, (1975)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 22622.1,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 74/84; Pathfinder Series 1360
Source Date: 1977

Source: Historic England

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