Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross in Newlyn churchyard, south of the church

A Scheduled Monument in Penzance, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1074 / 50°6'26"N

Longitude: -5.5517 / 5°33'6"W

OS Eastings: 146142.305

OS Northings: 29077.451

OS Grid: SW461290

Mapcode National: GBR DXND.KSK

Mapcode Global: VH05H.QKDJ

Entry Name: Wayside cross in Newlyn churchyard, south of the church

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016156

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30406

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Penzance

Built-Up Area: Newlyn

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Newlyn

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated to the south of the
church at Newlyn in the far west of Cornwall.
The wayside cross is visible as an upright granite head mounted on a modern
granite shaft and base. The head has unenclosed arms, a form called a `Latin'
cross, with its principal faces orientated north-south. The overall height of
the monument is 1.96m. The head measures 0.47m high by 0.29m wide and is 0.28m
thick. Both principal faces are decorated. The south face bears a relief
figure of Christ with outstretched arms, the head inclined to the west; the
lower part of the body is truncated by a fracture. The north face bears a
relief equal limbed cross. The head is cemented onto a modern shaft, set in a
socket in a roughly rectangular base.
This cross was dug up in a field at Trereife 1.25km north west of the church
around 1870. It remained in the grounds of Trereife for several years,
eventually being given to the vicar of Newlyn. The vicar placed the cross on a
rock over a cave, beside the road which passes to the south of the church.
Later it was moved to the churchyard and erected on a modern shaft and base in
its present location.
The metalled surface of the modern drive passing to the south of the cross is
excluded from the scheduling, where it falls within the protective margin,
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

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 head has survived well and is a good example of the
uncommon `Latin' cross type. It is also a rare example of a `Latin' cross with
a figure of Christ motif. Its burial, rediscovery and re-erection in the
churchyard at Newlyn illustrates well the changing attitudes to religion and
their impact on the local landscape since the Reformation period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 18802.3,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 32/42; Pathfinder Series 1368
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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