Ancient Monuments

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Standing cross 200m south of Trelowthas

A Scheduled Monument in Probus, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.282 / 50°16'55"N

Longitude: -4.9693 / 4°58'9"W

OS Eastings: 188553.116

OS Northings: 46671.33833

OS Grid: SW885466

Mapcode National: GBR ZK.VCX7

Mapcode Global: FRA 08G9.5VK

Entry Name: Standing cross 200m south of Trelowthas

Scheduled Date: 28 April 1948

Last Amended: 9 April 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020104

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32947

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Probus

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Probus

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval cross situated on level ground on top of a
ridge south west of Probus.
The cross is a rectangular slab of blue elvan, standing 1.39m high above
ground level, with a roughly square head. The WSW face appears to be the
front, the ESE being slightly rounded.
The upper part of the front, WSW, face shows a cross on a base in low relief,
formed by cutting back the surrounding stone of the head and neck of the slab,
down to a horizontal line 0.47m from its top. The carved cross has roughly
equal limbs with flared ends. The base resembles the limbs in shape and
The back, ENE, face has a partly worn but similar cross on the head of the
slab, again in low relief, but with no obvious sunken surround, and with a
narrow shaft rather than a short base below it. The upper 0.13m of the shaft
is in low relief, the remainder being defined by an incised line on either

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

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 standing cross 200m south of Trelowthas survives very well. Despite some
limited and superficial damage, it is virtually intact. The fabric and the
regular rectangular shape are unusual, and illustrate well the range of
materials and forms used for medieval crosses.

Source: Historic England


AM7, (1948)
SW 84 NE 4, JWP, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1968)
TS at RIC library, Truro, Baird, RD and Lady White, Cornish Crosses, (1961)

Source: Historic England

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