Ancient Monuments

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Lantern cross 60m north east of Lancarffe

A Scheduled Monument in Helland, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4893 / 50°29'21"N

Longitude: -4.704 / 4°42'14"W

OS Eastings: 208291.4

OS Northings: 68986.07

OS Grid: SX082689

Mapcode National: GBR N3.LHK9

Mapcode Global: FRA 171R.TDX

Entry Name: Lantern cross 60m north east of Lancarffe

Scheduled Date: 12 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016752

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31853

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Helland

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Bodmin

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval lantern cross-head mounted on a modern shaft
and base, situated 60m to the north east of the house at Lancarffe.
The cross, which is Listed Grade II, is 2.05m high, survives as a rectangular
cross-head (the rectangular shape resembling that of a lantern), mounted on an
octagonal shaft. The cross-head measures 0.56m high by 0.25m wide and 0.25m
thick, with principal faces orientated north-south. Each face is decorated
with a figure in relief beneath an ogee arched canopy: the north face bears a
figure of the Virgin and Child; the south face displays a crucifixion scene;
the east face bears a figure wearing a pointed hat, possibly a bishop; and the
figure on the west face is very worn and indistinct. The cross-head is mounted
on a modern square plinth, 0.25m square and 0.05m thick. This is mounted on
top of a modern octagonal granite shaft, which measures 1.25m high by 0.14m
wide and 0.14m thick. The shaft is mounted in a modern two stepped base. The
upper base stone measures 0.3m square by 0.1m high, the lower step measures
0.77m square by 0.09m high. The lower step is surrounded by large slabs of
granite forming a low platform around the cross-base measuring 2.36m square.
Lancarffe was originally owned by Bodmin Priory, and the cross-head was
originally found here. Later the Hext family owned the estate and removed the
cross from Lancarffe in 1850 to another of their houses, Tredethy, St Mabyn in
north Cornwall. It was recorded at Tredethy as mounted on an octagonal base
stone. In 1946 the cross was returned to Lancarffe and set up on a modern
shaft and base. The octagonal base stone is also at Lancarffe, located outside
a barn. This elaborately carved cross-head is a late example of a wayside
cross and probably dates to the 15th century.

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
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 medieval lantern cross-head 30m north east of Lancarffe survives
reasonably well. It is a good example of a lantern cross with the ornately
carved scenes on each face. The removal of the cross head to Tredethy in the
19th century, and its return to Lancarffe in the 20th century, with its re-
erection on a modern shaft and base demonstrate 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 G, Stone Crosses in East Cornwall, (1996)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses in East Cornwall, (1996)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 06/16; Pathfinder Series 1347
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

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