Medieval wayside cross at Lockengate


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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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 03186 61310

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.

This wayside cross at Lockengate has survived substantially intact as a good example of a wheel-headed cross despite the limited damage to two edges of its head. Its present position is analogous to its known former location in marking a junction on a church path in the same parish. It also occupies the equivalent position on the modern regional route that it formerly occupied on the direct medieval route, illustrating and emphasising the manner in which road networks develop. Its known former position shows well a major function of wayside crosses and shows clearly the longevity of many routes still in use. The re-use of this cross as part of a wall, beside its junction, until the 20th century illustrates the changing attitudes to religion that have prevailed since the Reformation and the impact of those changes on the local landscape.


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated beside a road junction at Lockengate in southern central Cornwall. The wayside cross at Lockengate survives as an upright granite cross with a round or 'wheel ' head, set in a groundfast granite base and measuring 1.5m in overall height. The periphery of the formerly round head of the cross has been truncated to give straight edges along part of its upper and western edges such that the latter edge now extends the line of the shaft's western edge. The head measures 0.4m east-west by 0.37m high and 0.27m thick. On each principal face, the head bears a low relief equal-armed cross with expanded limbs formed by four triangular sinkings. A narrow raised bead surrounds the sunken triangles along the surviving original outer edges of the head. The undecorated, rectangular-section shaft is 1.13m high from base to neck and measures up to 0.35m wide and 0.31 thick. The shaft is set into a rectangular base stone measuring 0.83m east-west by 0.5m north-south, its upper face flush with the ground surface. The shaft is set into the southern half of this slab, 0.3m from the north edge but only 0.08m from its south edge. This medieval wayside cross is set on a wide grass verge in Lockengate village, at the junction of the modern major road from Bodmin to St Austell with a minor road and former parish church path to Luxulyan to the south-east. Until this century, this cross was situated 0.82km to the east in the same parish, built into a wall beside a road junction near Trevellyn Farm, where it was recorded in 1896 by the historian Langdon. His illustration of the cross indicates that the truncation of the cross head's edges allowed it to conform with the wall's coursing. It is considered that this cross is one of a number of crosses removed during the Reformation (c.1540), often to be buried alongside the junction they formerly marked. This former location of the cross near Trevellyn Farm is analogous to its present position; it was situated beside an early route running directly from Bodmin to St Austell, via Luxulyan and marked by other medieval wayside crosses. Within Luxulyan parish this route also formed a major route to the church.

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)
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 21239 & 21239.1,
Information told to the MPPFW by Mr Andrew Langdon on 19/7/1993,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 06/16; Pathfinder Series 1347 Source Date: 1989 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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