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
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.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
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