Trevenning Cross and post-medieval guide post, 700m south west of Trevenning village
- 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. Tudy
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 07369 77475
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 Trevenning Cross has survived substantially intact despite the limited damage to the upper edge of its head and its re-erection in another base stone. It forms a good example of a 'wheel'-head cross, with an unusual head design. Although re-erected after its discovery in the adjacent hedgebank, it remains as a marker on its original route and junction, demonstrating well the major function of wayside crosses and the longevity of many routes still in use. Its position as a boundary marker and as a preaching cross on a route linking two important medieval ecclesiastical centres also shows the varied functions that such crosses may possess. The burial of this cross beside its junction until the 19th century illustrates the changing attitudes to religion that have prevailed since Reformation and the impact of those changes on the local landscape. The presence of an early post-medieval guidepost to the south demonstrates the development of secular markers at junctions as a result of those changes.
The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, the Trevenning Cross and a 2m
protective margin, situated at a junction on the Bodmin to Camelford road and
on the parish boundary of Michaelstow and St Tudy in North Cornwall. Within
the protective margins, the monument includes a post-medieval granite guide-
post at the junction, south of the cross.
The Trevenning Cross survives with an upright granite shaft with a round or
'wheel' head set into a square base stone, measuring 0.86m in overall height.
The head is 0.56m in diameter and 0.13m thick but its upper edge has been
irregularly fractured away. Each principal face of the head bears a low-relief
equal-limbed cross, its limbs slightly splayed at their ends which project
0.03m beyond the sides of the head. The lowermost limb extends slightly onto
the shaft. The head is perforated by four holes, 0.08m in diameter, marking
the angles where the limbs of the relief cross meet and creating a distinct
ring linking the limbs; one upper hole has been bisected by the upper edge
fracture. The rectangular-section shaft is 0.26m high, 0.33m wide and 0.15m
thick, set into a groundfast rectangular base-stone measuring 1.07m
north-south by 0.54m east-west and rising 0.15m above ground level.
The head and shaft of the Trevenning Cross and shaft were found during the
19th century in the hedgebank immediately behind its present location on the
verge by the base of the hedgebank. A number of Cornish wayside crosses were
similarly removed and buried at their original locations during the
Reformation (c.1540). The historian Langdon records in 1896 that the head and
shaft were initially erected without a base. Due to its being frequently
knocked over and damaged, it was later given further protection by being set
into a cross base found near Tregawn Gate, to the north near Michaelstow.
The Trevenning Cross is situated beside the main Bodmin to Camelford road, at
the western side of a road junction with a minor road to Michaelstow and St
Teath. Although the cross is also situated on the boundary between Michaelstow
and St Tudy parishes, it is felt to be unusually elaborate merely to have been
a wayside and boundary cross and is considered to have formed a preaching
cross on the route between the two ecclesiastical centres at Bodmin and St
The post-medieval guide post is located 0.95m south of the Trevenning Cross.
It survives with a tall, slightly tapered, slender granite pillar, 1.70m high
and 0.30m diameter at the base. The pillar is surmounted by a flat rectangular
granite slab measuring 0.54m east-west by 0.74m north-south and 0.12m thick.
Neatly incised capital letters along the three edges facing roads at the
junction mark the destinations of each route: St Teath to the north, Camelford
to the east and Bodmin to the south. The west side is not marked as it faces
the hedge. This is one of a distinctive group of early post-medieval guide
posts which employ this design found along the periphery of Bodmin Moor.
The modern roadside bollard south of the guide post and the metalled surface
of the road passing along the eastern side of the monument are excluded from
the scheduling but 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)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of North Cornwall, (1992)
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 17782,
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 07/17; Pathfinder Series 1338 Source Date: 1988 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 07/17; Pathfinder Series 1338 Source Date: 1988 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
told on 19/7/93, Information told to the MPP fieldworker by Mr Andrew Langdon,
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