Ancient Monuments

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Fentongollan Cross, 620m north west of St Michael Penkevil Church

A Scheduled Monument in St. Michael Penkevil, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.2456 / 50°14'44"N

Longitude: -5.0091 / 5°0'32"W

OS Eastings: 185554.112324

OS Northings: 42731.17095

OS Grid: SW855427

Mapcode National: GBR ZJ.LMFH

Mapcode Global: FRA 08DC.VRX

Entry Name: Fentongollan Cross, 620m north west of St Michael Penkevil Church

Scheduled Date: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016285

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29229

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Michael Penkevil

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Michael Penkevel

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross-head mounted on an
architectural fragment set into a cross base, situated by the road side to the
north west of St Michael Penkevil Church, in southern central Cornwall.
The cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as an upright granite head set
on top of an upright granite window mullion. The head has unenclosed arms, a
form called a `Latin' cross, its principal faces orientated east-west. The
head measures 0.39m high, and is 0.45m wide across the side arms, each of
which are 0.13m high by 0.15m wide. The upper limb measures 0.23m high by
0.19m wide at the base, tapering slightly to 0.16m at the top. The upper part
of the upper limb on the west face has been fractured. These three upper limbs
have chamfered angles, so are octagonal in section. At the base of the upper
limb on the west face is a lead filled hole, possibly the result of a past
reuse of the cross as a gatepost. The cross head has been fractured at the
base of the side arms, and is mounted on an architectural fragment by a lead
filled joint. This architectural fragment is a section of a moulded granite
window mullion which is cemented into a large rectangular granite base stone
which has rounded corners. The base measures 0.7m north-south by 0.6m east-
west and is 0.29m high. The rounded socket measures 0.3m in diameter.
The Fentongollan Cross is located by the roadside on the minor route between
St Michael Penkevil and Tresillian. The cross marks a junction on this road
with a lane leading to a ferry crossing of the Tresillian River to Malpas and
Truro. Tresillian is also on the main route through southern Cornwall, linking
Truro to routes to the north and east.
It has been recorded that the Fentongollan Cross was erected in its present
location in the 1850s by the Clerk of Works at Tregothnan Estate. The
antiquarian, Blight, illustrated the cross in 1872, and the local historian,
Langdon, described it in 1896.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

The Fentongollan Cross has survived reasonably well and is a good example of
the rather uncommon `Latin' cross type. Although it may not be in its original
position, it fulfills its original function as a waymarker. Its re-erection in
the mid-19th century illustrates well the changing attitudes to religion and
their impact on the local landscape since the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 22627,
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No.22627,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 74/84; Pathfinder Series 1360
Source Date: 1977

Source: Historic England

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