Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Churchyard cross in St Melaine's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in Mullion, Cornwall

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 50.0275 / 50°1'39"N

Longitude: -5.242 / 5°14'31"W

OS Eastings: 167901.18233

OS Northings: 19186.742752

OS Grid: SW679191

Mapcode National: GBR Z3.TD3C

Mapcode Global: VH13J.3K4S

Entry Name: Churchyard cross in St Melaine's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018697

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31842

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Mullion

Built-Up Area: Mullion

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Mullion

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross in Mullion churchyard on the
Lizard penninsula.
The churchyard cross, which is a Grade II listed building, survives as an
upright granite head set on a granite shaft and base, which are considered to
be modern. The head has unenclosed arms, a form called a `Latin' cross, its
principal faces orientated east-west. The head measures 0.39m high by 0.55m
across the side arms and is 0.19m thick. All three limbs have chamfered edges
at the corners making them octagonal in section. The head is cemented to the
shaft which stands to a height of 1.47m, is of octagonal section, and measures
0.28m wide at the base tapering to 0.21m at the top. Four sides of the shaft
slope out above the base to form the moulded foot. This shaft is mounted in a
cross base which measures 0.85m north-south by 0.85m east-west and is 0.51m
high. The base is moulded to form an octagonal section top springing from a
square section base. There is an inscription lightly incised on the west
face of the base which reads `To him who raised this cross and to all
faithful people pardon and peace grant O Lord Amen'. This base is mounted on a
granite plinth which measures 1.06m north-south by 0.95m east-west and is
0.14m high.
The head of this churchyard cross was found in 1870, turned upside down and
reused as a kerb stone by the west entrance to the churchyard. It was
reerected on a modern shaft and base on the east side of the south porch of
the church. The style of the cross head suggests a late medieval date for the
cross, and the modern shaft and base are very good copies of late medieval
The gravestone to the north of the cross and the two gravestones to the east,
where they fall within the cross'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

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone,
mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD).
Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as
stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm
Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for
preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of
sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between
parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate
battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and
protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market
places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some
crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for
example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the
scenes of games or recreational activity.
Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have
numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation
has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and
religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by
iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval
standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The
oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft
often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the
stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a
flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th
centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may
take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more
elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped
crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding
stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the
most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the
stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also
uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the
13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and
cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base,
buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and
head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our
understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our
knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which
survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their
original location, are considered worthy of protection.

The medieval churchyard cross in St Melaine's churchyard survives reasonably
well, despite the loss of its original shaft and base. It maintains its
original function as a churchyard cross in its original churchyard. It is a
good example of a late medieval `gothic' style of cross.

Source: Historic England


Consulted July 1997, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 10693.4,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 61/71; Pathfinder Series 1372
Source Date: 1986

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.