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Three wayside crosses in the churchyard of St Sennara's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Zennor, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1917 / 50°11'30"N

Longitude: -5.5674 / 5°34'2"W

OS Eastings: 145470.976

OS Northings: 38498.648

OS Grid: SW454384

Mapcode National: GBR DXM5.JMP

Mapcode Global: VH053.GF3X

Entry Name: Three wayside crosses in the churchyard of St Sennara's Church

Scheduled Date: 7 September 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019168

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31870

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Zennor

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Zennor

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes
three medieval wayside crosses situated in the churchyard of St Sennara's
Church on the northern side of the Penwith peninsula in west Cornwall. All
three crosses are Listed Grade II.
One wayside cross is located on the south side of the church. This cross
survives as an upright granite shaft with a round or `wheel' head mounted on a
modern granite base. The overall height of the monument is 0.7m. The head
measures 0.4m in diameter by 0.18m thick with the principal faces orientated
east-west. Both principal faces display a relief Latin cross with slightly
splayed ends to the limbs. The shaft, which measures 0.28m wide by 0.19m
thick, is mounted on a modern block of granite which measures 0.56m north-
south by 0.3m east-west and is 0.14m high.
This cross was found in 1890 by Rev'd S Farwell Roe, the vicar of Zennor,
built into a stile at Trevega, 3km north east of Zennor. The cross was removed
to Zennor vicarage garden, where the historian, Langdon, recorded it in 1896.
Later when Rev'd Roe moved to St Michael Penkevil he took the cross with him,
and again, when he moved to St Pinnock in 1906, the cross went too. In 1930
the cross was placed on the grave of Mrs Roe in St Pinnock churchyard, and
then in 1956 Rev'd Clowes, then vicar of Zennor, had the cross returned to the
churchyard of St Sennara's Church and erected in its present position.

The other two crosses are located to the north west of the church and are
cemented to a large granite memorial slab on the Borlase family grave. One
cross is positioned on the eastern end of the grave slab. This is 0.75m high
and survives as an upright granite shaft with a round `wheel' head which
measures 0.46 in diameter and is 0.3m thick. The west principal face on the
head displays a relief figure of Christ with outstretched arms, the legs
extending down onto the shaft. A narrow bead runs around the outer edge
of the head on this face. The east principal face bears a relief equal limbed
cross. The northern side of the cross head has been fractured. This cross was
found around 1850 built into the floor of Bridge Cottage, Trewey, now the
Wayside Museum, 150m south west of the church. The Rev'd Borlase had the cross
removed to the vicarage garden where it remained until his death in 1888 when
it was moved to the churchyard and its present location on his gravestone. The
Rev'd Borlase was a local antiquarian and vicar of Zennor. The gravestone also
commemorates Admiral John Borlase.

The other cross is positioned on the western end of the grave slab. It
survives as an upright granite round or `wheel' head 0.49m high by 0.47m wide
and is 0.19m thick. The east principal face bears a relief figure of Christ
with arms outstretched while the west principal face displays a relief equal
limbed cross with expanded ends to the limbs. Both faces have a narrow bead
around the outer edge of the head. This cross was found in a hedge at
Tregerthen Farm, 1.25km north east of the church at Zennor. Before 1856 it was
moved into the vicarage garden. After Rev'd Borlase's death the cross was
moved into the churchyard and its present location on his gravestone.

The metalled surface of the footpath to the north of the cross located south
of the church, and the gravestones to the east and west of the crosses to the
north west of the church are excluded from the scheduling, where they fall
within the monument's 2m protective margin, although the ground beneath is

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 three wayside crosses in the churchyard of St Sennara's Church survive
well as good examples of `wheel' headed wayside crosses. As a group they
demonstrate well the variety of motifs to be found on wayside crosses,
including Latin crosses, equal limbed crosses and the rare figure of Christ
motif. The reuse of one cross as part of a stile, and another as building
stone, their removal to the vicarage garden and later to the churchyard in the
19th 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, Stone Crosses of West Penwith, (1997)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
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

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