Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross in St Just Vicarage garden

A Scheduled Monument in St. Just, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1249 / 50°7'29"N

Longitude: -5.6754 / 5°40'31"W

OS Eastings: 137398.811

OS Northings: 31444.467

OS Grid: SW373314

Mapcode National: GBR DXCC.34M

Mapcode Global: VH05F.L404

Entry Name: Wayside cross in St Just Vicarage garden

Scheduled Date: 17 June 1970

Last Amended: 16 April 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016753

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31854

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Just

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Just-in-Penwith

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated to the south east of
the vicarage at St Just.
The wayside cross, which is Listed Grade II, is 0.62m high, survives as an
upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel' head which measures 0.59m wide and
0.17m thick. The principal faces are orientated north west-south east, and
both are decorated with a relief equal limbed cross with an incised cross at
the centre. The upper 0.14m of the shaft is visible above ground. The cross
has a distinct lean to the north west.
The original site of this cross is not known, though it is believed to have
come from Sancreed parish. In the mid-19th century the antiquarian Blight
illustrated the cross built into a garden wall at St Just Vicarage. By 1896
when the historian Langdon recorded it, the cross had been removed from the
wall and was in the vicarage garden.
The garden gnome to the east of the cross, the fragment of holed stone to the
south east and the stone bowl to the north west where they fall within the
protective margin are excluded from the scheduling, although 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

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 wayside cross survives well in St Just Vicarage garden as a good
example of a wayside cross. The removal and re-erection of the cross, first to
a garden wall, then later to the garden in the 19th century, demonstrates 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, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of West Penwith, (1997)
Consulted December 1998, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 29772,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

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