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Churchyard cross in Lamorran churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in St. Michael Penkevil, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.2377 / 50°14'15"N

Longitude: -4.9762 / 4°58'34"W

OS Eastings: 187861.437502

OS Northings: 41762.430002

OS Grid: SW878417

Mapcode National: GBR ZK.Y42Z

Mapcode Global: FRA 08GD.H53

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in Lamorran churchyard

Scheduled Date: 12 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015625

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29204

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Michael Penkevil

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Tresillian and Lamorran with Merther

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross situated within the
churchyard at Lamorran, on the River Fal in south Cornwall.
The churchyard cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as an upright head
and shaft set on a base, all of Pentewan stone, which itself sits on a low
mound. Pentewan stone is an intrusive white elvan from the south coast of
Cornwall, which was used for intricate carvings during the medieval period.
The head has unenclosed arms, a form called a `Latin' cross, its principal
faces orientated north-south. The overall height of the monument is 1.85m. The
head measures 0.25m high by 0.36m wide across the side arms, each of which are
0.07m high, and 0.12m thick. The upper limb has been fractured at some time in
the past. The side arms are of ovoid section and each arm has a 0.05m
triangular projection or cusp on the top and bottom of the arm. The lower limb
is round in section and is set on the octagonal section shaft. The shaft
measures 1.23m high by 0.23m wide at the base tapering to 0.13m at the top,
and is 0.23m thick at the base tapering to 0.12m at the top. On the north face
of the shaft, near the top, is a fracture 0.12m long by 0.1m wide and 0.06m
deep. The north east, north west, south east and south west sides of the shaft
slope out 0.16m above the base to form a moulded foot. The shaft is mounted on
a square base; the top of this base is octagonal in shape, with moulded
corners sloping out to form the square base. This base measures 0.61m east-
west by 0.62m north-south and is 0.27m high.
The churchyard cross has had its head removed several times during the 19th
century. The head was left lying at the base of the cross for many years
before disappearing. It was rediscovered in 1924, by the rector, under the
floor of the church and replaced on its shaft. It is now fixed to the shaft by
a mortice and tenon joint. By 1955 the upper limb was missing, later replaced
by a modern one, now also missing. The churchyard cross with its cusps on its
side arms giving it a foliated appearance, is of a late Gothic style and
probably dates from the late medieval period, making it a late example of a
churchyard cross. The historian Langdon in 1896 believed the cross to be part
of the development of crosses towards the late medieval lantern style cross.
The two gravestones to the west of the cross fall within its protective margin
and are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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

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 Lamorran churchyard has survived well, and there is no
record of it having been moved. It is a good example of a `Latin' style of
cross and is unusual in showing signs of transition from an early medieval
style to the later Gothic style. It is a rare example of a churchyard cross
from the later medieval period, and is carved from Pentewan stone, rather than
the more usual granite.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Henderson, C, The Cornish Church Guide, (1928)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Other
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No.22670.3,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 74/84; Pathfinder Series 1360
Source Date: 1977
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Source: Historic England

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