Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross 120m north of Basill

A Scheduled Monument in St. Clether, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.6297 / 50°37'47"N

Longitude: -4.5399 / 4°32'23"W

OS Eastings: 220461.775

OS Northings: 84193.771653

OS Grid: SX204841

Mapcode National: GBR NB.9PPB

Mapcode Global: FRA 17CD.R48

Entry Name: Wayside cross 120m north of Basill

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1932

Last Amended: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017046

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31856

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Clether

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Clether

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated in the River Inney
valley 120m north of Basill and south west of St Clether.
The wayside cross, which is 2.16m high, survives as an upright granite shaft
with a round `wheel' head 0.63m wide; the principal faces of the head are
orientated east-west and each bear a relief equal limbed cross with slightly
expanded ends to the limbs. There are traces of a narrow bead around the outer
edges of both principal faces. At the neck are two rounded projections, one to
either side of the shaft which measures 0.48m wide at the base tapering to
0.43m wide at the neck, and is 0.2m thick at the base tapering to 0.16m at
the neck. The cross has a distinct lean to the south. The base stone is
completely hidden from view under a thick layer of turf.
This wayside cross is considered to be in its original position. It probably
marked a safe fording point of the River Inney 30m to the east of the cross.
The cross is located on a low hedgebank on the north side of a disused
medieval hollow way, leading up from the river to join the minor road to the
west. This road runs south of the hollow way to cross the river by a bridge
which has replaced the earlier fording point. The minor road is part of the
ancient route from Davidstow to the north west to Altarnun to the south. It
also gave access across the river to the chapel and holy well at St Clether.
To the west along this road is another wayside cross which is the subject of a
separate scheduling (SM 31857), and further west is a cross roads, again
marked by a cross (SM 30439), which gave access to Trevillians Gate and routes
across north western Bodmin Moor.

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 120m north of Basill survives well as it is a good
example of a wheel headed cross, and has projections at its neck, a rare
feature, sometimes found on crosses in north Cornwall. It is one of a group of
crosses found around the manor of Basill, marking routes to the church and
holy well at St Clether. It is believed that the cross is in its original
location and, although the route is no longer in use, it maintains its
original function as a waymarker marking a fording point on the River Inney.
It demonstrates well the major role of wayside crosses.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses in East Cornwall, (1996)
Title: 1": 1 mile Ordnance Survey Map; sheet 30; Camelford
Source Date: 1889

Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 28/38; Pathfinder Series 1326
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

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