Medieval wayside cross at Fenterleigh crossroads, 750m south-east of Bossiney


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)
National Grid Reference:
SX 07165 88319

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 pilgrimages. 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 with 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 wayside cross at Fenterleigh crossroads has survived reasonably well, despite some peripheral damage to the edge of the cross-head. Although slightly re-located, it remains as a marker on its original route and junction and forms a good example of a decorated wheel-headed cross. The location of this cross on a road linking the important medieval centres at Bossiney and Tintagel with the inland routes through Cornwall demonstrates well the relationship between such crosses and broadly contemporary settlements and thoroughfares. This cross also marks one of several routes in the parish to the church at Tintagel, showing the differing purposes which wayside crosses served.


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known variously as the Fenterleigh, Pentaly or Bossiney Cross, situated beside a crossroads on a road linking Bossiney, on the north Cornish coast, with the main routes into Cornwall from the east. The monument survives as an upright granite cross, with a round or 'wheel' head and measuring 1.62m in overall height. The cross head is 0.49m across and 0.15m thick, its upper and eastern edges removed by irregular fractures. Each principal face of the head bears a relief equal-armed cross with widely expanded limbs, emerging from a raised central boss 0.09m in diameter. Each limb of the cross measures 0.2m long and expands to 0.2m wide at its outer edge. The lower edge of the cross-head is delineated by a groove, marking it off from the shaft beneath. The rectangular section shaft tapers from 0.45m wide at ground level to 0.41m where it meets the head and is up to 0.16m thick. On the south face, an Ordnance Survey bench mark has been incised on the shaft, 0.33m below the neck of the cross. The north face of the shaft has an iron staple in a hole 0.32m above ground level. This wayside cross has always been recorded beside this crossroads, although it was moved slightly in 1971 during road alterations. The cross is situated on a wide verge at the north-east side of the crossroads on a road running inland from Bossiney, nearby on the coast, to the major routes into Cornwall as they pass through Camelford and Launceston respectively. The nearby settlement of Bossiney was a medieval manor from shortly after the Norman Conquest and contains a surviving fortification from that period called ringwork and bailey. The road marked by this cross is also a main route giving access to the important early and later medieval settlement focused on Tintagel Island, 2.2km to the WNW, and is a route leading to the church at Tintagel within whose parish this cross is situated.

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.

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Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of North Cornwall, (1992)
Rose, P, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Bossiney Castle, , Vol. 31, (1992), 138-142
AM7 scheduling documentation and maplet for CO 226, consulted 1993
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 23091/CCRA entry SX 08 NE 32,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 08/18: Pathfinder Series 1325 Source Date: 1986 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

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