Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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

Churchyard cross and wayside cross in St Erth's churchyard

A Scheduled Monument in St. Erth, 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: 50.1644 / 50°9'51"N

Longitude: -5.432 / 5°25'55"W

OS Eastings: 154990.8135

OS Northings: 35016.2325

OS Grid: SW549350

Mapcode National: GBR DXZ7.SQ2

Mapcode Global: VH12T.S4N8

Entry Name: Churchyard cross and wayside cross in St Erth's churchyard

Scheduled Date: 7 September 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019169

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31871

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Erth

Built-Up Area: St Erth

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Erth

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes a
medieval churchyard cross and a wayside cross situated in St Erth's churchyard
in west Cornwall, to the south east of the church.
The churchyard cross is 1.01m high and survives as a round or `wheel' head
mounted on a rectangular granite base. The head measures 0.66m in diameter and
0.23m thick, and forms an equal limbed cross with expanded ends to the limbs,
the ends of the limbs joined by an outer ring. The spaces between the limbs
are fully pierced by four holes. The principal faces are orientated east-west,
and are both decorated. The east face displays five round raised bosses, one
at the centre, the others marking the four limbs of the cross. The west face
bears a figure of Christ in high relief with arms outstretched; the figure
terminates at the waist. The cross head is cemented into a rectangular granite
cross base which measures 0.66m north-south by 0.7m east-west and is 0.35m
high. This cross is Listed Grade II.
A cross, probably this one, was first mentioned as being in St Erth's
churchyard in 1838. The local antiquarian, Blight, illustrated it in 1856, and
the historian, Langdon, illustrated it in 1896. Both these illustrations show
the face displaying the bosses facing to the west. By 1953 the head had been
turned around so that the bosses now face east. This cross with its figure of
Christ on one side and bosses on the other displays similar characteristics to
the early tenth century crosses on the Penwith peninsula, centred around St
Buryan and the early medieval monastery there.
The wayside cross survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel'
head cemented on to a modern three stepped granite base. The west side of the
top step has metal letters `GILBART' on it. The cross head measures
0.52m in diameter by 0.24m thick and has principal faces orientated east-west.
The west face displays a relief figure of Christ with outstretched arms, His
head inclined to the north and feet apart and out-turned. A bead extends from
the feet around the outer edge of the head. The east face bears a Latin cross
in relief with a narrow bead around the outer edge of the head. This face has
been fractured on the top of the head and the north side of the shaft. The
shaft measures 0.31 high, 0.29m wide and 0.26m thick. All four corners of the
shaft are chamfered.
The antiquarian, Blight, noted this cross at Battery Mill, 0.5km south west of
St Erth, in 1856. The historian, Langdon, illustrated the cross in a garden
wall at the mill in 1896. He also recorded that the cross had been found
nearby around 1860 and had been built into the wall for its preservation. When
Mr Gilbart, the owner of the mill, died in the 1890s the cross was removed to
the churchyard and placed on a modern base over his grave.
The surface of the gravel footpath to the south and west, the lamp-post to the
south, the vault to the north and the gravestone to the north west of the
churchyard cross, and the gravestones to the north, south, east and west of
the wayside cross are excluded from the scheduling where they fall within the
monument's 2m protective margin, although the ground beneath all these
features 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 cross in St Erth's churchyard survives reasonably well as a good example
of a four holed cross with unusual decoration of a type found on a group of
crosses around St Buryan, the site of an early medieval monastery. It is
believed that these crosses date to the tenth century.
The wayside cross survives as a good example of a `wheel' headed cross. The
discovery of this cross, its incorporation into a wall and later removal 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
Blight, J T, Blight's Cornish Crosses, (1856)
Blight, J T, Blight's Cornish Crosses, (1856)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses in West Cornwall, (1999)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses in West Cornwall, (1999)
Thomas, C, 'Anglo-Saxon and Viking Age Sculpture and its Context' in Ninth Century Sculpture in Cornwall: a note, , Vol. BAR 49, (1978)
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.