Ancient Monuments

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Churchyard cross immediately north east of the Parish Church

A Scheduled Monument in Boconnoc, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.416 / 50°24'57"N

Longitude: -4.6099 / 4°36'35"W

OS Eastings: 214680.174

OS Northings: 60601.439

OS Grid: SX146606

Mapcode National: GBR N7.R3QV

Mapcode Global: FRA 177Y.FX7

Entry Name: Churchyard cross immediately north east of the Parish Church

Scheduled Date: 7 September 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019170

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31873

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Boconnoc

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Boconnoc

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross situated to the north west
of the Parish Church at Boconnoc in south east Cornwall. The cross is Listed
Grade II.
The cross, which is 0.72m high, survives as an upright granite shaft with a
round or `wheel' head which measures 0.47m high by 0.48m wide and 0.16m
thick. The principal faces are orientated north-south and both display a
relief equal limbed cross with expanded ends to the limbs. On the north face,
at the bottom of the head, is a small rectangular slot. The shaft measures
0.35m wide by 0.15m thick.
The cross was found built into the church when the organ chamber was rebuilt
in 1886. It was then erected in the churchyard. It has been suggested
that this may be the original churchyard cross.
The gravel surface of the footpath to the west of the cross is excluded from
the scheduling where it falls within the monument's 2m protective margin,
although the ground beneath it 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 churchyard cross immediately north east of the parish church at Boconnoc
survives well as a good example of a `wheel' headed cross. Its reuse as
building stone and re-erection in the churchyard in the 19th century
demonstrates 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 in East Cornwall, (1996)
Consulted July 1999, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 6690.01,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; Explorer 107; St Austell and Liskeard
Source Date: 1997

Source: Historic England

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