Medieval wayside cross at Castle Hill, 740m north east of Bodmin parish church


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:

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 medieval wayside cross has survived well, remaining as a marker on its original route and close to its original position. It has suffered only minor damage to one side of its head and is a good example of a wheel head cross, complete with head and shaft, though set on a modern base. Its location on the former course of the main regional route linking two important medieval administrative, ecclesiastical and market centres demonstrates the major role of wayside crosses and highlights the subsequent development of the road system.


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross surrounded by a 2m protective margin, set beside the Old Callywith Road, at Castle Hill, Bodmin, by the former main route linking Bodmin with Launceston in mid Cornwall. The cross is Listed Grade II*. The wayside cross survives with an upright granite shaft and a round `wheel' head, set in a hexagonal modern base stone, measuring 2.3m in overall height. The head measures 0.56m high by 0.61m wide and 0.25m thick. The head is decorated on each principal face with a light relief equal-limbed cross, the limbs having slightly expanded ends. The north face has a narrow raised peripheral bead. A small curved portion of the head's eastern edge has fractured away. The rectangular-section shaft measures 1.16m high and is 0.38m wide by 0.23m thick. The shaft is set in a modern granite base stone of flattened hexagonal shape in plan, measuring 1.02m east-west by 0.56m north-south and 0.58m thick. The wayside cross is situated on a verge at the centre of a minor junction on the Old Callywith Road, formerly called Castle Street Hill. This was originally the main route linking the two major medieval administrative, ecclesiastical and market centres of Bodmin and Launceston. It also formed one of the main routes into Cornwall from the rest of England, marked at intervals by other medieval wayside crosses; this route remains of importance to the present as the A30 trunk road, albeit following a markedly altered course. This cross formerly stood by the same road as today but 110m to the south west of its present location. In 1827, it was dismantled when a new boundary was built and the cross was taken to cover a well in an adjoining meadow. It remained there until 1925 when it was re-erected in the modern base stone in its present location. The surface of the modern metalled road south of the cross-base is 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, CCRA Register Entry for SX 06 NE/16 and SX 06 NE/16/1,
Given by letter, 8/93, Information given to MPPFW by Mr Andrew Langdon, (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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