Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Churchyard cross in St Ia's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in St. Ives, Cornwall

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 50.2125 / 50°12'45"N

Longitude: -5.4799 / 5°28'47"W

OS Eastings: 151824.418052

OS Northings: 40519.827488

OS Grid: SW518405

Mapcode National: GBR DXV3.W5P

Mapcode Global: VH12D.YXWG

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Ia's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 24 October 1950

Last Amended: 14 March 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016158

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30409

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Ives

Built-Up Area: St Ives

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Ives

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross situated in the
churchyard of St Ia's church in St Ives on the Penwith peninsula in the far
west of Cornwall.
The churchyard cross is visible as an upright flattened octagonal granite
shaft with a rectangular lantern head mounted on a three stepped modern
granite base. The monument measures approximately 3m in overall height. The
principal faces are orientated east-west. All four faces of the head are
decorated with scenes in relief. The west principal face bears a crucifixion
scene with the head of God the Father above the cross. There is a small
shield on either side of the head of God. The east principal face is decorated
with the Virgin and Child, flanked by a figure to either side, possibly
representing angels. Again, two shields flank the Virgin's head. The south
face bears a figure of a bishop, probably St Uny, and the north face bears the
figure of St Ia. The top of the head is decorated with `battlements', and the
corners of the head are beaded, forming `turrets' at the top. The octagonal
section shaft widens at the top to form a collar just below the head.
The shaft is mounted in a three stepped base. The top two steps are octagonal
in shape; the bottom step is rectangular and measures 1.48m north-south by
1.16m east-west. In 1869 the historian Langdon recorded that this cross was
found buried in the churchyard in 1832. It is considered that this cross is
probably the original churchyard cross that was thrown down and buried at the
Reformation, and is possibly contemporary with the church which was completed
in 1434. The cross was re-erected in 1852.
The drains to the north east and north west, the architectual fragements and
floor tiles, the granite paved footpath to the south, and the iron boot
scraper to the east of the cross are excluded from the scheduling, although
the ground beneath all these features is included.

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 St Ia's churchyard has survived well and remains in
its original location in the churchyard, thus maintaining its original
function as a churchyard cross. It is a good example of an elaborately
decorated lantern cross, a rare type of churchyard cross in Cornwall. Its
deliberate burial at the time of the Reformation and its re-erection 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, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Consulted 1996, AM7 for scheduled monument CO 322,
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No.29921,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364
Source Date: 1989

Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW33/43; Pathfinder Series 1364
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.