Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross in the cemetery at St Teath, 60m north west of the church

A Scheduled Monument in St. Teath, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5933 / 50°35'35"N

Longitude: -4.7371 / 4°44'13"W

OS Eastings: 206371.910019

OS Northings: 80638.577447

OS Grid: SX063806

Mapcode National: GBR N2.CT7K

Mapcode Global: FRA 07ZH.LB2

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in the cemetery at St Teath, 60m north west of the church

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016155

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30405

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Teath

Built-Up Area: St Teath

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Teath

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross situated in the cemetery to
the north west of St Teath church on the coast of north Cornwall.
The churchyard cross, which is listed Grade II, is visible as an upright
granite shaft with a round or `wheel' head, mounted on a rectangular granite
base. The monument measures 3.96m in overall height. The head measures 0.58m
wide, and is fully pierced by four holes creating an equal limbed cross with
widely splayed arms linked by an outer ring. The principal faces are
orientated north-south. Both these faces were originally decorated but the
decoration on the south face is very worn. There are traces of decoration on
the north face.
This cross is believed to be the original churchyard cross of St Teath and has
been the subject of reuse, restoration and re-erection in the 19th century.
The headstones to the south west and north east of the cross fall within its
protective margin and are excluded from the scheduling, although 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

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.

This churchyard cross survives in fair condition and is a good example of a
four holed `wheel' headed cross. It is the third tallest cross in Cornwall,
and still retains traces of its original elaborate decoration. Restoration and
re-erection of the cross in the 19th century show well the changing attitudes
to religion since the Reformation and their impact on the local landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of North Cornwall, (1992)
Langdon, A G, Attwell, D, St Teath Restoration Project, (1995)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, An Addendum to A G Langdon's Old Cornish Crosses, (1996)
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No.17860,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 08/18: Pathfinder Series 1325
Source Date: 1986

Source: Historic England

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