Ancient Monuments

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Wayside cross and cross base in St Stephen's churchyard, 6m south of the church

A Scheduled Monument in St. Stephen-in-Brannel, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.3438 / 50°20'37"N

Longitude: -4.8897 / 4°53'22"W

OS Eastings: 194489.192601

OS Northings: 53310.312601

OS Grid: SW944533

Mapcode National: GBR ZR.0GVN

Mapcode Global: FRA 08N4.6VB

Entry Name: Wayside cross and cross base in St Stephen's churchyard, 6m south of the church

Scheduled Date: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018694

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31838

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Stephen-in-Brannel

Built-Up Area: St Stephen

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Stephen-in-Brannel

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross and a cross base in
St Stephen's churchyard.
The wayside cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as a granite round
`wheel' head mounted on a modern granite shaft and base. The head measures
0.46m high by 0.53m wide and is 0.12m thick, its principal faces orientated
east-west. Both principal faces bear a relief equal limbed cross with a narrow
bead around the outer edge of the head. The cross head is cemented onto a
modern shaft which measures 0.96m high by 0.49m wide at the base, tapering to
0.33m at the top and is 0.34m thick at the base, tapering to 0.2m at the top.
The shaft is mounted on a rounded granite boulder measuring 0.86m north-south
by 0.6m east-west and is 0.3m high.
This cross head was found at the end of the 19th century in a field at
Treneague Farm, 0.85km north west of the church. By 1896, when the historian
Langdon recorded it, the cross had been removed to the churchyard. It probably
marked the old church path from Trethosa, 1.25km to the north, to the church
at St Stephen. There was also a chapel at Treneague, licenced in 1381, for
which the cross may have also acted as a waymarker.
The wayside cross base is located 0.48m to the north of this cross. This
granite cross base measures 0.96m east-west by 0.74m north-south and is 0.21m
high. It is roughly triangular in shape. It has been suggested that the cross
base is the original base of the cross from Treneague.
The metalled footpath to the north and east of the cross and cross base and
the two gravestones to the west, where they fall within the monument's
protective margin, are 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 medieval wayside cross and cross base in St Stephen's churchyard survive
reasonably well. It is a good example of a wheel headed cross, and is now in
the churchyard for which it used to mark the way on a church path. The
discovery of the cross at the end of the 19th century and its removal, along
with the cross base, into the churchyard, 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, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Consulted July 1997, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 20911,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 85/95; Pathfinder 1353
Source Date: 1983

Source: Historic England

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