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Lantern cross and grave slab immediately south of St Bartholomew's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Lostwithiel, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4073 / 50°24'26"N

Longitude: -4.6689 / 4°40'8"W

OS Eastings: 210450.323

OS Northings: 59783.609

OS Grid: SX104597

Mapcode National: GBR N5.RLK6

Mapcode Global: FRA 173Z.8WJ

Entry Name: Lantern cross and grave slab immediately south of St Bartholomew's Church

Scheduled Date: 7 September 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019677

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31874

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Lostwithiel

Built-Up Area: Lostwithiel

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Lostwithiel

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument, which lies within two separate areas of protection, includes a
medieval lantern cross and a medieval grave slab, both situated to the south
of St Bartholomew's Church at Lostwithiel in southern mid-Cornwall.
The cross survives as a rectangular cross-head (the rectangular shape
resembling that of a lantern), mounted on a modern octagonal shaft and stepped
base. The height of the cross and shaft is 1.73m. The cross and shaft are
carved from Pentewan stone, an intrusive white elvan from quarries around
Pentewan on the south coast of Cornwall, used in the medieval period for the
carving of crosses, fonts and the decoration of local churches. The cross
head measures 0.79m high by 0.35m wide and is 0.19m thick. The principal faces
are orientated north-south, each of which is decorated with a figure in relief
beneath an arched canopy. The south face displays a crucifixion scene and the
north the Virgin and child. The east and west faces each bear single figures,
possibly saints or bishops. These scenes are set below an ornate, gabled roof.
The head is set on a modern octagonal shaft, the foot of which has chamfered
stops, forming a square. The shaft is mounted on a three stepped base.
The top step is of Pentewan stone, and measures 0.86m high by 0.55m square.
The sides are decorated with ogee arches in relief, the southern example
bearing an inscription to Frances Margery Hext, who had the cross restored.
The top of this step slopes down from the shaft. The middle step is also of
Pentewan stone, with a sloping top. The bottom step is a square of granite and
measures 0.88m by 0.1m high.
It is considered that this cross may be part of the original churchyard cross,
broken up at the Reformation. It was found in a private garden and erected in
the churchyard on a modern shaft and base by Frances Hext in 1882. This
elaborately carved cross head is a late example of a churchyard cross, and is
considered to date to the 14th century.
The grave slab survives as a tapered, rectangular block of granite set upright
and cemented into a modern granite base. The stone measures 1.26m high, 0.45m
wide at the top, tapering to 0.32m at the base and is 0.17m thick. The
faces are orientated north-south. The north face is plain but the south face
bears relief decoration including a circle with three small circular bosses at
its top and bottom. A further boss is set above the circle and there is a long
limb extending down the slab from the base of the circle. The granite base
measures 0.58m east-west by 0.34m north-south and is 0.15m high. The south
face of the base bears an inscription stating that the grave slab was found
near this spot and was erected by the Lostwithiel Old Cornwall Society.
This grave slab would originally have been the lid for a medieval grave
belonging to a wealthy or important person, possibly a priest.
The chest tomb to the south west of the cross and the surface of the concrete
footpath to the south and west of the grave slab are excluded from the
scheduling where they fall within the monument's 2m protective margin,
although the ground beneath these features 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 lantern cross immediately south of St Bartholomew's Church survives well
as a good example of its class with the ornately carved scenes clearly visible
on each face. The removal of this cross from a garden and re-erection in the
churchyard in the 19th century demonstrates well the changing attitudes to
religion and their impact on the local landscape since the medieval period.
The grave slab is a rare survival which demonstrates an aspect of medieval
burial practice.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Consulted July 1999, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 26965,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; Explorer 107; St Austell and Liskeard
Source Date: 1997

Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; Explorer 107; St Austell and Liskeard
Source Date: 1997

Source: Historic England

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