Choone Cross, 220m WNW of Choone 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. Buryan
- National Grid Reference:
- SW 42208 24692
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 Choone Cross has survived reasonably well, remaining as a marker on its original route and junction despite the absence of the shaft. It is the largest known example of this distinctive form of cross-head bearing a relief figure of Christ. With this unusual motif, it forms one of the earlier medieval crosses and provides important information on the production and stylistic development of wayside crosses. The location of this cross beside a junction of parish church-paths, marked by other wayside crosses, demonstrates well a major function of wayside crosses and shows clearly the longevity of many routes still in use.
The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, the Choone or Chyoone Cross,
within a 2m protective margin, situated on the roadside verge beside a ridge-
top thoroughfare running south-east from St Buryan, at the junction with a
track to Moor Croft Farm and to Choone Farm, in Penwith, west Cornwall.
The Choone Cross, which is also listed Grade II*, survives with a large,
upright, granite cross-head set in a large granite base stone. The
cross-head is of the Latin form, an equal-armed cross with unenclosed limbs.
The cross-head measures 0.66m high and is 0.75m wide across its arms, NE-SW,
and 0.15m thick, tapering to 0.1m thick at the top of the upper limb. The
upper limb is 0.28m wide; the two lateral limbs are 0.27m wide. The lower
limb, forming the top of the shaft, is 0.33m wide. The south-east face of the
cross-head bears a relief figure of Christ at the intersection of the limbs.
The figure is depicted with long thin outstretched arms and legs straight with
large out-turned feet. It measures 0.39m high and 0.36m wide across the arms.
At the equivalent position on the north-west face is a slender low relief
Latin cross. The cross-head lacks a shaft and is set directly into a large,
almost square, granite base-stone measuring 1.1m NE-SW by 1.07m NW-SE and
rising 0.3m above ground level.
The Choone Cross is situated in its original position beside one of several
church-paths, now a modern minor road, radiating into the parish from the
church and village of St Buryan and marked by other medieval wayside crosses.
The cross marks the junction of that route with two other early routes, each
followed by a public footpath; one leads north-east to the present Moor Croft
Farm, the other follows another church path also marked by wayside crosses,
giving access to the far south-east of the parish. St Buryan, the site of a
major Celtic monastery traditionally founded by Athelstan in the early 10th
century, forms the focus of a distinctive series of crosses bearing the Christ
motif present on the head of this cross. Studies of these crosses have
suggested that they date to the late 9th or early 10th century and provided a
major design inspiration for the mid-10th century development of a highly
elaborate series of west Cornish decorated crosses.
The surface of the farm track passing south-east of the cross base is excluded
from the scheduling although the ground beneath is included.
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)
Thomas, C, 'Anglo-Saxon and Viking Age Sculpture and its Context' in Ninth Century Sculpture in Cornwall: a note, , Vol. 49, (1978), 75-9
Mercer, R.J., AM7 & 1:2500 scheduling maplet for CO 801, 1970, consulted 1993
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 32/42; Pathfinder Series 1368 Source Date: 1980 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