Ancient Monuments

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An early Christian memorial stone at Boskenna

A Scheduled Monument in St. Buryan, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.0572 / 50°3'25"N

Longitude: -5.6024 / 5°36'8"W

OS Eastings: 142252.277

OS Northings: 23666.830692

OS Grid: SW422236

Mapcode National: GBR DXKJ.DMP

Mapcode Global: VH05N.VT3K

Entry Name: An early Christian memorial stone at Boskenna

Scheduled Date: 15 June 1972

Last Amended: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018570

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31828

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Buryan

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Buryan

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes an early Christian memorial stone situated to the west
of Boskenna Manor on the south coast of the Penwith peninsula.
The early Christian memorial stone, which is Listed Grade II, survives as a
granite shaft lying on the ground with the inscription facing upwards. The
memorial stone measures 1.53m long by 0.38m wide and is 0.25m thick. The
inscription is incised deeply into the stone and is clearly visible; it is
probably incomplete. There are three large rectangular holes in this face of
the stone, two at the north west end and one at the south east end, which may
have removed part of the inscription. These are a result of the later reuse of
the stone as a gatepost. The inscription is incised in two lines and has been
read as `EVOCA ' and `CA'. It has also been read as `EVOCALI' or `EVOCATI' and
`CAT'. These two words are probably personal names. There is also some
indistinct decoration or letters at one end of the stone which may be a small
alpha-omega symbol. This memorial stone probably dates from between the fifth
or sixth centuries and the 11th century.
The memorial stone was found at Vellansger, 2km north of Boskenna, in use as a
gatepost. By 1907 the stone had been moved to its present location where the
historian Henderson recorded it around 1912.

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

Early Christian memorial stones are inscribed free-standing stones
commemorating named individuals and dating to the early medieval period (c.AD
400-1100). The stones are erect, roughly dressed or undressed slabs, bearing
incised inscriptions, usually set in one or more vertical lines down one face
of the slab, although in four examples the text runs horizontally across the
slab. All except two recorded texts are in Latin and, depending on their date,
may be inscribed in a script of Romanised capitals or an insular form of lower
case lettering called miniscules, or a mixture of the two. Six stones also
have inscriptions in an Irish script called ogham. Most inscriptions are
simple, bearing a personal name and often stating a family relationship, such
as `filii' (son of), to another personal name. Fourteen stones contain
elements of the simple inscriptions within a longer, complex inscriptive
formula, often including the phrase `hic iacet' (here lies). Additional
decoration is found on very few stones and usually comprises a cross within a
circle. Early examples, prior to the eighth century AD, may bear an early
Christian symbol called a Chi Rho monogram, compounding the first two Greek
letters of the name `Christ'.
Early Christian memorial stones are largely restricted to areas which retained
Celtic traditions during the early medieval period, with at least 139 recorded
from Wales. In England, they are almost entirely confined to the south-west
peninsula; of the 56 recorded examples, 37 occur in Cornwall, 11 in Devon, a
group of 5 in Dorset, and single examples in Somerset, Hampshire and
Shropshire. As a very rare and diverse class of monument important for our
understanding of the social organisation and the development of literacy and
Christianity during the early medieval period, all surviving groundfast
examples of early Christian memorial stones are considered worthy of

The early Christian memorial stone at Boskenna has survived reasonably well,
despite some damage from its former reuse as a gatepost. Its inscription is
clearly incised though is not complete. The inscription itself is of
importance from a period generally lacking in such historical references.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Okasha, E, Corpus of Early Christian Inscribed Stones of South-west Britain, (1993)
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 28184,
FMW report for CO 797,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 32/42; Pathfinder Series 1368
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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