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Two wayside crosses in St Hilary's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in St. Hilary, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.131 / 50°7'51"N

Longitude: -5.4289 / 5°25'43"W

OS Eastings: 155044.4065

OS Northings: 31284.1005

OS Grid: SW550312

Mapcode National: GBR DXZB.G1Y

Mapcode Global: VH12T.VYBZ

Entry Name: Two wayside crosses in St Hilary's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 24 July 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018206

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30447

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Hilary

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Hilary

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes two medieval wayside crosses situated to the south of
the church in St Hilary's churchyard in west Cornwall.
One wayside cross is located on the east side of the footpath through the
churchyard where the footpath bends round to the east; the other is on the
west side of the footpath. Both are Listed Grade II.
The cross on the east side of the footpath survives as an upright granite
shaft with a round, `wheel' head. The overall height of the monument is 0.91m.
The principal faces are orientated north west-south east. The head measures
0.41m high by 0.48m wide and is 0.13m thick. The north west face bears an
equal limbed cross in relief; a flat, wide bead runs around the outer edge of
the head. The south east face is plain. The shaft measures 0.5m high by 0.26m
wide and is 0.15m thick.
It is believed that this cross came from Treverbyn 0.5km east of St Hilary's
church where it was in use as a stile. By 1896 when the historian, Langdon,
recorded the cross it was in its present location in the churchyard.
The other cross on the west side of the footpath survives as an upright
granite shaft with a round `wheel' head, mounted on a modern granite base. The
overall height of the monument is 1.17m. The principal faces are orientated
east-west. The head measures 0.38m wide and 0.27m thick. Both principal faces
bear a relief equal limbed cross. The top of the head has been damaged at some
time in the 19th century. The shaft measures 0.5m high by 0.28m wide and is
0.25m thick. The shaft is cemented into a block of granite which measures
0.56m north-south by 0.49m east-west and is 0.33m high.
This cross was located at Trewhella, 1.25km north east of St Hilary's church,
where it marked the junction of Trewhella Lane and a footpath but was removed
to the churchyard in 1905. The inscription on the base reads `This cross was
removed from Trewhella in the year 1905 in order to ensure its better
preservation in the future by permission of Lord St Levan the owner of its
original site'.
The gravel surface of the footpath passing between the two crosses is excluded
from the scheduling but the ground beneath, included as a protective margin,
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.

These medieval wayside crosses survive reasonably well, despite one having had
the top of its head blown off. Originally both crosses would have acted as
waymarkers. The original location of the cross from Trewhella is recorded: it
marked a route within the parish to the church at St Hilary. Their removal
into the churchyard, one in the 19th century and the other early in the
20th century demonstrate 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, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Consulted July 1997, Cornwall entry for PRN No. 29382,
Consulted July 1997, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 29161,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364
Source Date: 1989

Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

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