Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross in Sancreed churchyard, 10m east of the church

A Scheduled Monument in Sancreed, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.108 / 50°6'28"N

Longitude: -5.6091 / 5°36'32"W

OS Eastings: 142044.146436

OS Northings: 29345.634792

OS Grid: SW420293

Mapcode National: GBR DXJD.HHH

Mapcode Global: VH05G.QKK1

Entry Name: Wayside cross in Sancreed churchyard, 10m east of the church

Scheduled Date: 27 October 1967

Last Amended: 12 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015626

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29212

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Sancreed

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Sancreed

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated to the east of the
church at Sancreed on the Penwith peninsula in the far west of Cornwall. This
is one of five crosses now present in the churchyard.
The wayside cross survives as a short section of upright granite shaft with a
round, `wheel' head. The overall height of the monument is 0.79m. The
principal faces are orientated east-west. The head measures 0.45m high by
0.56m wide and is 0.2m thick. The east principal face bears a relief `Latin'
cross with the lower limb extending down onto the top of the shaft. A narrow
bead runs around the outer edge of the head and extends down onto the top of
the shaft on either side. The west face of the cross is not visible as it is
against the old churchyard wall. The shaft measures 0.34m high by 0.31m wide
and is 0.17m thick. There is a fracture across the shaft 0.13m below the head.
This wayside cross is located to the east of Sancreed church, just beyond the
old churchyard boundary wall in the later extension to the churchyard. This
cross was originally located 1.25km to the north east of Sancreed church, on a
footpath from Reskennals to Sancreed, where the footpath crossed the
Tremethick to Grumbla road. At some time in the past it was removed to the
churchyard at Sancreed.

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 Sancreed churchyard has survived well and is a good
example of a wheel headed cross. In its original position it acted as a
waymarker on a route within the parish to the church at Sancreed. Its removal
to the churchyard 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 G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 28712.72,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 32/42; Pathfinder Series 1368
Source Date: 1980

Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

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