The Middle Moor Cross, 230m north-east of Camperdown Farm
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
- St. Breward
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 12505 79297
Reasons for Designation
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 Middle Moor Cross has survived well, despite minor modification to the base of its shaft. Earlier records confirm it in its present location. Its simple incised cross and the crude manner of its execution are unusual features. Such a detailed survival of the medieval context for this cross is rare and demonstrates well both the development of the landscape within which this cross has remained a fixed point, and the longevity of the routes which such crosses may serve. The location of this cross beside a route leading to a broadly contemporary chapel and holy well and at a critical position as a waymarker shows well some of the major functions of wayside crosses. The mention of the cross in local folk tradition provides a good example of the personified manner with which local communites often viewed the wayside crosses in their area.
The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated beside a modern track
and within a medieval trackway onto north-western Bodmin Moor in north
The Middle Moor Cross, also known as the Mid Moor Post, survives as an upright
granite cross, set in a large granite base-slab, standing 2m in overall
height. The cross has a crudely-fashioned round or 'wheel' head, 0.5m high,
0.47m wide and 0.12m thick, with a straight, sloping, facet along its upper
edge. The head emerges from the northern edge of the shaft at a slightly
higher level than it does from the southern edge. On each principal face, the
head bears a simple incised cross, 0.5m high and 0.47m across the arms. The
style of the incised cross is thought to indicate an early date. The
undecorated, rectangular-section shaft rises 1.1m from the base to the lower
edge of the head. The shaft measures 0.35m wide and 0.24m thick, bulging
slightly along the centre of its southern edge to 0.43m wide. The shaft is
cemented into the centre of a large, roughly-shaped, ovoid granite base-slab,
measuring 1.15m north-south by 1.55m east-west and up to 0.15m high. The
base-slab is itself supported on a partly turf-covered rubble plinth up to
0.32m high and measuring 1.35m north-south by 1.85m east-west. The Middle Moor
Cross is situated in its original location, beside a private road onto the
open moor, on a verge bordered to its SSE by the hedgebank of Camperdown Farm.
However, disused medieval embanked and ditched boundaries survive on that farm
and the neighbouring moor, revealing that in the medieval enclosure layout,
the position of this cross lies near the middle of a broad routeway, 200m wide
at this point, between two large medieval pasture enclosures. The enclosures,
and hence the routeway, end on the medieval limit of the common moorland
grazing 140m to the north-east of the cross, from where the cross could be
seen as a guidepost to travellers from the open moor. The route marked by this
cross is also noted in the 19th century as an early route to the distinctive
hill of Roughtor, where there was a small medieval chapel and a holy well. A
local tradition, recorded in the later 19th century, recounts that when the
Middle Moor Cross heard the bells of St Breward it would turn round, and it
did this so often that it fell down. This concurs with the record that the
cross shaft and head had fallen from the base in the 19th century, but they
were re-erected in 1888 by a local vicar. In 1938 the cross had been knocked
down again, its re-erection requiring a new tenon to be cut on the base of the
shaft, reducing the height of the cross by 0.30m.
MAP EXTRACT 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.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of North Cornwall, (1992)
consulted 1993, Carter, A./Quinnell, N.V./RCHME/CAU, 1:2500 AP plot for SX 1279,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1973,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 07/17; Pathfinder Series 1338 Source Date: 1988 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing