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Wayside cross in Gwinear churchyard, 5m north of the church

A Scheduled Monument in Gwinear-Gwithian, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.1876 / 50°11'15"N

Longitude: -5.3705 / 5°22'13"W

OS Eastings: 159501.164084

OS Northings: 37384.537236

OS Grid: SW595373

Mapcode National: GBR FX35.YLV

Mapcode Global: VH12N.VKP2

Entry Name: Wayside cross in Gwinear churchyard, 5m north of the church

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016160

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30413

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Gwinear-Gwithian

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Gwinear

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated to the north of the
church in Gwinear churchyard in west Cornwall.
The wayside cross, which is listed Grade II, survives as an upright granite
shaft with a round, `wheel' head. The overall height of the monument is 1.42m.
The principal faces are orientated east-west. The head measures 0.47m wide and
is 0.24m thick. The west face bears a very worn and barely discernible figure
of Christ with arms outstretched. The east face bears an equal limbed cross,
with splayed ends to the limbs. Both faces have a narrow bead running around
the outer edge of the head. The shaft measures 1.04m high and is 0.25m thick.
On the west principal face are two holes resulting from an earlier reuse of
the cross as a gatepost. Prior to 1858 this wayside cross was located 0.25km
to the east of Gwinear church, at a junction of the road from Gwinear to
Carnhell Green to the east, where it is crossed by a route to Lanyon to the
north east, and routes towards Leedstown and Praze-an-Beeble to the south
east. This cross was removed from the junction in 1858 and placed in the
churchyard at Gwinear, by the north east angle of the church. Between 1870 and
1880 it was moved close to the south porch, where the historian Langdon
recorded it in 1896. Since then it has been moved to the north side of the
churchyard to its present location, near the north porch.
The gravel surface of the footpaths to the south and west of the cross, where
they fall within the cross's protective margin, are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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
pilgrimages.
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 has survived well as a good example of a `wheel' headed
cross with a rare figure of Christ motif on one face. Its removal from a road
junction in the 19th century and relocation in the churchyard at Gwinear
illustrates well the changing attitudes to religion and their impact on the
local landscape since the medieval period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
St Gwinear, (1989)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Other
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 29564,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364
Source Date: 1989
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Source: Historic England

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