Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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

Wayside cross immediately south of St Towennicus' Church

A Scheduled Monument in Towednack, 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: 50.1892 / 50°11'21"N

Longitude: -5.5219 / 5°31'18"W

OS Eastings: 148704.3975

OS Northings: 38070.2015

OS Grid: SW487380

Mapcode National: GBR DXR5.TPY

Mapcode Global: VH12L.7HNS

Entry Name: Wayside cross immediately south of St Towennicus' Church

Scheduled Date: 10 October 1933

Last Amended: 7 June 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019167

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31869

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Towednack

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Towednack

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated by the south porch of
St Towennicus' Church on the northern side of the Penwith peninsula in west
The cross, which is 0.93m high, survives as an upright granite shaft with a
round or `wheel' head. The head measures 0.37m high by 0.36m wide and 0.18m
thick with the principal faces orientated north-south. Both principal faces
display a relief Latin cross, the lower limb extending down onto the upper
shaft. The shaft measures 0.25m wide by 0.2m thick. The cross has a distinct
lean to the south east.
This cross was found built into the chimney stack of a cottage called the
`Church House' at Coldharbour, 500m south east of St Towennicus' Church. By
1880 the cottage had fallen into a ruinous state and the cross was thus
discovered. It was removed to a garden at Tredorwin, 2km south west of
Towednack where the historian Langdon recorded it. Around 1910 the cross was
re-erected in its present position in the churchyard.
The cross is Listed Grade II.
The concrete surface of the footpath to the west of the cross, the low wall to
the east and the granite steps to the south are excluded from the scheduling,
where they fall within the monument's 2m protective margin, although the
ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 immediately south of St Towennicus' Church survives well and
is a good example of a `wheel' headed wayside cross with Latin cross motifs on
each face. The reuse of the cross as building stone, its discovery and re-
erection in a garden in the 19th century, and removal to the churchyard early
in the 20th century 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 of West Penwith, (1997)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; Explorer 102; Land's End
Source Date: 1996

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.