Ancient Monuments

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An early Christian memorial stone in Lewannick churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Lewannick, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.6004 / 50°36'1"N

Longitude: -4.4376 / 4°26'15"W

OS Eastings: 227590.561736

OS Northings: 80687.807349

OS Grid: SX275806

Mapcode National: GBR NG.CKZC

Mapcode Global: FRA 17LH.30C

Entry Name: An early Christian memorial stone in Lewannick churchyard

Scheduled Date: 13 June 1973

Last Amended: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016365

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30421

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Lewannick

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Lewannick

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes an early Christian memorial stone in the churchyard at
The memorial stone survives as an upright granite shaft measuring 1.31m in
overall height. The rectangular section shaft measures 0.38m wide by 0.23m
thick, the broader faces oriented to the north east and south west. The upper
part of the south east face has been fractured, which has reduced the
thickness of the top of the stone to 0.18m. This stone bears an incised
inscription in short horizontal lines on its north west face. The inscription
is in Latin, incised in an early medieval insular form of script derived from
Roman style capitals, and has been read as `INCENVI MEMORIA' or `INGENVI
MEMORIA' which translates as `the monument of Incenvus'. There is another
inscription on the north corner of this stone incised in an early medieval
script of Irish origin called `ogham', which occurs on Christian monuments of
the fifth and sixth centuries AD. The ogham inscription, whose lettering is
represented entirely by short incised lines in varying multiples and at
various angles, has been read as `INGENAVI MEMOR', repeating the name in the
Latin inscription. Both of these inscriptions are very worn and virtually
indecipherable. The use of inscriptions in both Latin and ogham, and the
formula employed in the Latin inscription and the style of the lettering,
combine to suggest a fifth/sixth century to eighth century date for this
memorial stone.
This stone was found in 1892 by the local historian, Langdon, deeply
buried on the south side of the churchyard at Lewannick. The stone has
remained in the churchyard, and its present location is close to the south
entrance to the churchyard.
The grave with its granite headstone and kerbed surround to the south east of
the memorial stone falls within the stone's protective margin and is excluded
from the scheduling but 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

Early Christian memorial stones are inscribed free-standing stones
commemorating named individuals and dating to the early medieval period (c.AD
400-1100). The stones are erect, roughly dressed or undressed slabs, bearing
incised inscriptions, usually set in one or more vertical lines down one face
of the slab, although in four examples the text runs horizontally across the
slab. All except two recorded texts are in Latin and, depending on their date,
may be inscribed in a script of Romanised capitals or an insular form of lower
case lettering called miniscules, or a mixture of the two. Six stones also
have inscriptions in an Irish script called ogham. Most inscriptions are
simple, bearing a personal name and often stating a family relationship, such
as `filii' (son of), to another personal name. Fourteen stones contain
elements of the simple inscriptions within a longer, complex inscriptive
formula, often including the phrase `hic iacet' (here lies). Additional
decoration is found on very few stones and usually comprises a cross within a
circle. Early examples, prior to the eighth century AD, may bear an early
Christian symbol called a Chi Rho monogram, compounding the first two Greek
letters of the name `Christ'.
Early Christian memorial stones are largely restricted to areas which retained
Celtic traditions during the early medieval period, with at least 139 recorded
from Wales. In England, they are almost entirely confined to the south-west
peninsula; of the 56 recorded examples, 37 occur in Cornwall, 11 in Devon, a
group of 5 in Dorset, and single examples in Somerset, Hampshire and
Shropshire. As a very rare and diverse class of monument important for our
understanding of the social organisation and the development of literacy and
Christianity during the early medieval period, all surviving groundfast
examples of early Christian memorial stones are considered worthy of

The early Christian memorial stone has survived well, with most of its
inscription complete, though very worn. It is one of only six memorial stones
in south west England to bear an inscription not only in Latin but also in
ogham script. The inscription itself is of importance from a period generally
lacking in such historical references. Its discovery in the churchyard and
re-erection there in the 19th century reflects the continuity of use of
Lewannick churchyard as a burial place from the early medieval period to the
present day.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Okasha, E, Corpus of Early Christian Inscribed Stones of South-west Britain, (1993)
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No.17590,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 28/38; Pathfinder Series 1326
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

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