Ancient Monuments

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Penbeagle Cross

A Scheduled Monument in St. Ives, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.2064 / 50°12'22"N

Longitude: -5.4941 / 5°29'38"W

OS Eastings: 150780.691752

OS Northings: 39882.127705

OS Grid: SW507398

Mapcode National: GBR DXT4.87L

Mapcode Global: VH12L.Q2CM

Entry Name: Penbeagle Cross

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1932

Last Amended: 16 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017348

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24289

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Ives

Built-Up Area: St Ives

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Halsetown

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Penbeagle Cross,
situated at a road junction on the B3306 on the south western edge of St Ives.
The Penbeagle Cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as an upright granite
shaft with a round, `wheel' head mounted in a modern granite base. The
monument measures 1.29m high. The head measures 0.34m high by 0.38m wide and
is 0.16m thick. Parts of the eastern and upper edges of the head were
fractured away prior to its illustration by the historian Langdon in 1896. The
south principal face of the head bears an incised Latin cross, 0.37m high and
0.34m across its side arms, the lowermost limb extending onto the upper shaft.
The north principal face of the head is plain but the north face of the shaft
bears a reversed B, incised when the cross had once been inverted and used as
a gatepost and boundary stone by the Bolitho family at some point prior to
Langdon's 1896 record. The rectangular section shaft measures 0.81m high,
0.31m wide and tapers in thickness from 0.18m at the base to 0.13m at the top.
The Penbeagle Cross is situated beside a junction on the main route west from
St Ives around the northern edge of the Penwith peninsula, and on one of the
principal routes within the parish to the church at St Ives, at an angle on
that route where it meets a lane running south to Penbeagle. Earlier records
confirm the presence of the cross at this junction, amid agricultural land
until the later 20th century and now at the south west edge of the suburban
area of St Ives. The cross was moved 7m north west of its original site during
the 1970s after being toppled by a car and before subsequent alterations to
the junction that would have involved its minor relocation from its former
position. In 1998 the cross was moved 5m west of its former location and re-
erected on a modern granite base.
The surface of the metalled footpath to the south of the cross where it falls
within its protective margin is 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 Penbeagle Cross has survived reasonably well. Despite the peripheral
damage to the western side of the head it is a good example of a wheel head
cross and its simple incised cross motif is unusual. Although slightly re-
located it remains as a marker on its original route and junction
demonstrating well the major role of wayside crosses in marking important
routes. This cross also marks one of several routes in the parish to the
church at St Ives showing the differing levels at which wayside crosses

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
AM7, AM107 and scheduling maplets for CO 199, 1989, Consulted 1993
in lettr to MPPFW, 8/1993, information from Mr Andrew Langdon, (1993)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

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