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Churchyard cross in Cury churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Cury, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.0461 / 50°2'46"N

Longitude: -5.245 / 5°14'41"W

OS Eastings: 167776.332034

OS Northings: 21267.545124

OS Grid: SW677212

Mapcode National: GBR Z2.GC8Y

Mapcode Global: VH13J.13KG

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in Cury churchyard

Scheduled Date: 12 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015460

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29223

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Cury

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Cury with Gunwalloe

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross situated to the south of the
church at Cury on the Lizard peninsula in south west Cornwall.
The churchyard cross, which is Listed Grade II* survives as an upright granite
shaft with a round, `wheel' head. The overall height of the monument is 2.6m.
The principal faces are orientated north-south. The south face is decorated
with an incised cross with expanded ends to the upper limbs, and from the
lower limb a narrow shaft extends down the shaft to 0.78m above ground level,
where it terminates in an expanded, triangular foot. The north face is plain.
The shaft measures 2.17m high by 0.26m wide at the base and is 0.39m thick at
the base.
This churchyard cross is located to the south of Cury church. The historian
Langdon in 1896 recorded that the cross and its base had lain in a ditch
between the churchyard and its boundary wall. In May 1849 the cross was
reunited with its base and re-erected in its present position in the
churchyard.
The memorial slab to the north of the cross falls within its protective margin
and is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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 Cury churchyard has survived well. It is a good
example of a wheel headed cross, and is believed to be one of the tallest
wheel headed crosses in Cornwall. The removal of the cross to a ditch in the
churchyard and its subsequent re-erection there in the mid 19th century
demonstrates well the changing attitudes to religion and their impact on the
local landscape since the medieval period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Other
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 28049.5,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 52/62; Pathfinder Series 1369
Source Date: 1983
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Source: Historic England

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