Ancient Monuments

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Standing stone in the churchyard of the parish church of Mabe, 10m south west of the church

A Scheduled Monument in Mabe, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1497 / 50°8'58"N

Longitude: -5.1406 / 5°8'26"W

OS Eastings: 175733.418178

OS Northings: 32461.9396

OS Grid: SW757324

Mapcode National: GBR Z8.VNSQ

Mapcode Global: FRA 083M.K3H

Entry Name: Standing stone in the churchyard of the parish church of Mabe, 10m south west of the church

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016159

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30411

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Mabe

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Mabe

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a prehistoric standing stone with a medieval cross
incised on it, situated in the churchyard at Mabe in west Cornwall.
The stone, which is listed Grade II, is 1.85m high and 0.66m wide at the base
tapering to 0.35m at the top. The principal faces are orientated north-south,
and on the top of the north face is a small incised `Latin' cross, probably
added at sometime during the medieval period. On the east face the granite has
naturally weathered along linear cracks, which has given the misleading
impression that there is a further inscription or incised ornament on this
The standing stone is set in a low mound and is considered to be in its
original location. The early churchyard at Mabe was of oval shape and may
originally have started as a pre-Norman cemetery or `lan'. It now contains a
medieval church, medieval wayside cross (the subject of a separate scheduling
- SM 30410) and this standing stone. The standing stone was probably too
difficult to move and so a cross was added to it to make it more acceptable to
the later Christian use of the site.
The metalled surface of the footpath to the north of the stone and the
headstones to the east and south, where they fall within the stone's
protective margin, are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath these features 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

Standing stones are prehistoric ritual or ceremonial monuments with dates
ranging from the Late Neolithic to the end of the Bronze Age for the few
excavated examples. They comprise single or paired upright orthostatic slabs,
ranging from under lm to over 6m high where still erect. They are often
conspicuously sited and close to other contemporary monument classes. They can
be accompanied by various features: many occur in or on the edge of round
barrows, and where excavated, associated subsurface features have included
stone cists, stone settings, and various pits and hollows filled in with earth
containing human bone, cremations, charcoal, flints, pots and pot sherds.
Similar deposits have been found in excavated sockets for standing stones,
which range considerably in depth. Several standing stones also bear cup and
ring marks. Standing stones may have functioned as markers for routeways,
territories, graves, or meeting points, but their accompanying features show
they also bore a ritual function and that they form one of several ritual
monument classes of their period that often contain a deposit of cremation and
domestic debris as an integral component. No national survey of standing
stones has been undertaken, and estimates range from 50 to 250 extant
examples, widely distributed throughout England but with concentrations in
Cornwall, the North Yorkshire Moors, Cumbria, Derbyshire and the Cotswolds.
Standing stones are important as nationally rare monuments, with a high
longevity and demonstrating the diversity of ritual practices in the Late
Neolithic and Bronze Age. Consequently all undisturbed standing stones and
those which represent the main range of types and locations would normally be
considered to be of national importance.

This standing stone in Mabe churchyard is a rare example of a `Christianised'
standing stone, a prehistoric standing stone being brought into the orbit of
Christianity by the addition of an incised cross at some time during the
medieval period. It is also a good example of the continuity of use of Mabe
churchyard as a ceremonial and burial place, from the pre-Christian era
through to the present day.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Thomas, C, And Shall These Mute Stones Speak?, (1994)
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 18575,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 83; Pathfinder Series 1366
Source Date: 1984

Source: Historic England

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