Ancient Monuments

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Cross 150m south west of Rospletha

A Scheduled Monument in St. Levan, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.0434 / 50°2'36"N

Longitude: -5.6579 / 5°39'28"W

OS Eastings: 138202.8921

OS Northings: 22332.149294

OS Grid: SW382223

Mapcode National: GBR DXDK.R51

Mapcode Global: VH05T.W57K

Entry Name: Cross 150m south west of Rospletha

Scheduled Date: 19 July 1972

Last Amended: 10 August 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016965

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31847

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Levan

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Levan

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated on a footapth running
from St Levan's Church to Rospletha Farm on the southern side of the Penwith
The wayside cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as an upright granite
shaft with a round `wheel' head set into a granite base. The overall height of
the monument is 0.89m and the principal faces are orientated north-south. Both
faces bear a relief equal limbed cross with expanded ends to the limbs. The
head measures 0.59m wide and 0.25m thick. The shaft measures 0.35m wide by
0.26m thick and is cemented into a base stone. This base stone is not visible
as it is covered by a layer of soil and vegetation.
This cross is considered to be in its original location on the church path
from St Levan's Church and Rospletha Farm and Porthcurno to the north east.

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 150m south west of Rospletha survives well and is a
good example of a wheel headed cross. There is no record of its having been
moved. The cross maintains its original function as a waymarker on its
original route from Porthcurno and Rospletha to the parish church of St Levan,
demonstrating well one of the major roles of wayside crosses.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of West Penwith, (1997)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 32/42; Pathfinder Series 1368
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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