Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross 290m north west of Basill

A Scheduled Monument in St. Clether, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.6298 / 50°37'47"N

Longitude: -4.5435 / 4°32'36"W

OS Eastings: 220211.392

OS Northings: 84208.526

OS Grid: SX202842

Mapcode National: GBR NB.9NRJ

Mapcode Global: FRA 17CD.PS0

Entry Name: Wayside cross 290m north west of Basill

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1932

Last Amended: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017047

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31857

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 290m north west of Basill, and
situated on the top of a hedge by a minor road from St Clether to Davidstow.
The wayside cross, which is 1.52m high, survives as an upright granite shaft
with a round, `wheel' head 0.61m wide, the principal faces of which are
orientated east-west, each bearing a relief equal limbed cross with slightly
expanded ends to the limbs. There is 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 0.45m
wide at the neck, and is 0.24m thick at the base tapering to 0.19m at the
neck. The cross has a distinct lean to the south.
This wayside cross is not considered to be in its original position. It has
been suggested that it was placed on top of the hedge when traffic along the
road increased. The historian Langdon recorded the cross in this position in
1896. Although it is not in its original location, it is believed to be on its
original route marking a way down to a fording point across the River Inney
approximately 300m to the east of the cross. The modern road bends to the
south and down to a bridge across the river, but the earlier route is still
visible as a hollow way across a field marked by another cross which is the
subject of a separate scheduling (SM 31856), which gave access across the
river to the chapel and holy well at St Clether. This route is part of the
ancient route from Davidstow to the north west to Altarnun to the south.
Further west along the minor road is a cross roads marked by another cross
(SM 30439), which gave access to Trevillians Gate and routes across north
western Bodmin Moor.
The post and wire fence to the north of the cross is excluded from the
scheduling where it impinges on the cross's protective margin, 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 290m north west of Basill survives well as 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. Although the cross is not in its original location,
it is close to it, and continues to mark its original route, maintaining its
original function as a waymarker, demonstrating well the major role of such
wayside crosses.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses in East Cornwall, (1996)
Consulted July 1997, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 17637,
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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