Four crosses on St Michael's Mount

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1006656

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1932

Map

Ordnance survey map of Four crosses on St Michael's Mount
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: St. Michael's Mount

National Grid Reference: SW 51441 29816, SW 51490 29862, SW 51494 29881

Summary

A standing cross and three wayside crosses on St Michael’s Mount.

Reasons for Designation

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD). Standing crosses were distributed throughout England 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. 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. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious. Wayside crosses were 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 which might have a more specifically religious function, including providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions. Wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration but several regional types have been identified. The Cornish wayside crosses form one such group. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces of which various forms of cross were carved. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ. Over 400 crosses are recorded in Cornwall. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval routeways, settlement patterns and the development of sculptural traditions and their survival is somewhat differential because of periods of religious turbulence during the Reformation when many were subject to damage or partial destruction by iconoclasts. The standing cross and three wayside crosses on St Michael’s Mount are all of different form and have diverse features as a group they represent many of the features present on early crosses and show distinct differences is sculptural traditions and date.

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 2 December 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes one standing cross and three wayside crosses in various locations around St Michael’s Mount overlooking Mounts Bay. The standing cross survives as a lantern head set onto a tall octagonal shaft with a modern base above a steep cliff. The lantern contains four carved figures under canopied arches, an ornate pinnacle has been added on the top of the lantern and it has been attached to the shaft with decorative loadstone or plaster work. The cross is Listed Grade II (69973). This cross originally came from the site of a chapel in Redruth and was moved to the mount in 1831. The first wayside cross survives as an octagonal shaft set into a chamfered pedestal it has a dowel rod in the top and holes in one face suggest it has been re-used as a gatepost. The cross is Listed Grade II (69969). A second wayside cross survives as a decorated wheel head on an octagonal shaft. The head is decorated with a heavy circular moulding terminating in the carving of a human head and depicts the crucifixion whilst to the rear is a Latin cross in relief. The cross was moved from the site of a chapel in St Erth in 1890. This cross is Listed Grade II (69974). The third wayside cross survives as a decorated wheel head and rectangular shaft. On the rear is a Latin cross in relief and on the front face a Latin cross in relief on the lower part of the shaft with a carved figure of Christ in relief in a circular recessed panel above and on the head a Maltese cross in relief. This cross is listed at Grade II*. This cross may be in-situ. All crosses are within a registered garden.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: CO 177

Legacy System: RSM - OCN

Sources

Other
PastScape Monument No:-424623, 424626, 424643 and 424646

End of official listing