Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross 660m north of Basil Farm

A Scheduled Monument in St. Clether, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.6362 / 50°38'10"N

Longitude: -4.5536 / 4°33'13"W

OS Eastings: 219517.102723

OS Northings: 84942.455934

OS Grid: SX195849

Mapcode National: GBR NB.964S

Mapcode Global: FRA 17BD.CSG

Entry Name: Wayside cross 660m north of Basil Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1932

Last Amended: 19 March 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018003

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30440

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 beside the River Inney
to the north of Basil Farm.
The wayside cross survives as an upright shaft with a round, `wheel' head. The
cross is unusually carved from slate, and is the only known example of a slate
cross in Cornwall. The overall height of the monument is 1.73m. The principal
faces are orientated north east-south west. The head is 0.51m wide, and the
north east face is decorated with a relief equal limbed cross, the upper limb
having been eroded away. The south west face is plain. At the neck are two
rounded projections, one on either side of the shaft. The shaft measures 0.41m
wide at the base, tapering to 0.35m at the neck, and is 0.16m thick.
This wayside cross which is Listed Grade II, is located on a level area of
land close to the River Inney. It was erected in this position in 1893 by the
then landowner, Mr. Venning of Basil. Prior to its re-erection, the cross had
been built into a rough stone wall on the river bank, close to Tarret Bridge.
It is believed that the cross is probably close to its original location, and
that it marked the route to St Clether Church via the holy well and chapel. It
may also have marked a safe fording place across the River Inney.

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 wayside cross 660m north of Basil Farm has survived reasonably well. 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. Uniquely it is the
only known example of a cross made from slate in Cornwall. It is one of a
group of crosses found around the manor of Basil, marking routes to the church
and holy well at St Clether. Its reuse as building stone and re-erection in
the 19th century, probably close to its original location, demonstrates well
the changing attitudes to religion and their impact on the local landscape
since the medieval period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses in East Cornwall, (1996)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 08/18: Pathfinder Series 1325
Source Date: 1986

Source: Historic England

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