Ancient Monuments

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Cross-head in Madron churchyard, south of the church

A Scheduled Monument in Madron, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1315 / 50°7'53"N

Longitude: -5.5648 / 5°33'53"W

OS Eastings: 145336.282866

OS Northings: 31797.019875

OS Grid: SW453317

Mapcode National: GBR DXMB.KTV

Mapcode Global: VH059.HYGL

Entry Name: Cross-head in Madron churchyard, south of the church

Scheduled Date: 24 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017586

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30408

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Madron

Built-Up Area: Madron

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Madron

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval cross-head which is listed Grade II,situated
to the south of the church at Madron on the Penwith peninsula in the far west
of Cornwall. The cross-head is visible as a round or `wheel' head of granite.
The head measures 0.53m in diameter by 0.11m thick. The north principal face
bears a relief equal limbed cross of gothic design; small side arms cross all
four limbs close to their ends. The base of the lower limb is buried in the
ground. The south face is plain.
It has been suggested that this cross was meant to be built into a surface, as
its south face and edges are roughly worked.
The flat gravestones and granite slabs set within the gravel footpath and the
gravel footpath itself, which passes to the north, east and west of the cross-
head are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is

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.

This cross has survived well despite the loss of its shaft and base. It is a
rare example of a `wheel' headed cross decorated with a gothic style motif,
which suggests a late medieval date for this monument. Its re-erection in the
churchyard at Madron demonstrates well the changing attitudes to religion and
their impact on the local landscape since the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 31681,
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43; Pathfinder Series 1364
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

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