Trembath Cross 200m ENE of Buryas Bridge
- 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:
- SW 44894 29153
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.
This wayside cross has survived well and forms a good example of a wheel head cross, complete with its original head, shaft and base. The designs on this cross and their method of execution are most unusual. Earlier records confirm that this cross has not been moved from its present location where it remains one of several extant and broadly contemporary crosses marking this important early route, demonstrating well the major role of wayside crosses, the longevity of many routes still in use and the subsequent development of the road network. This cross also marks one of several routes within this parish to the church, showing one of the differing uses for wayside crosses.
The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Trembath Cross,
and a surrounding 2m protective margin, beside the main road from Penzance to
Land's End, the modern A30, near Buryas Bridge in west Cornwall.
The Trembath Cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives with an upright granite
shaft and a round `wheel' head set in a large granite base, measuring 1.59m in
overall height. The head measures 0.39m high by 0.51m wide and 0.13m thick.
The head and upper shaft are decorated on each principal face.
The west face of the head bears an unusual cross motif, whose shaft is formed
by a vertical ridge, 0.06m wide, outlined by an incised line and with one pair
of side arms formed by opposed long triangular sinkings whose narrow tips meet
the central shaft. The motif is contained within a sub-circular incised line
which terminates on each side of the cross-motif's lower end. Below this
design, the upper shaft bears a second cross motif, a crude Latin cross, 0.32m
high, formed entirely by low ridges, 0.06m wide, emphasised by an incised line
as in the shaft of the motif above. The east principal face of the head and
upper shaft bears a design similar to the upper cross motif on the west face.
This cross design has the raised ridge and incised line forming the shaft,
which extends 0.2m onto the neck of the cross. The design also has the opposed
triangular sinkings forming the side arms of a cross, but it also has a second
pair of similar opposed triangular sinkings at the lower part of the shaft,
forming a double-armed cross.
The cross shaft is 0.99m high, 0.34m wide, tapering slightly to 0.32m at the
base where it enters the socket, and 0.17m thick. The shaft is set in a large
granite sub-circular base stone whose edges are largely obscured beneath
encroaching hedgebank debris and vegetation, its visible dimensions being
0.65m long by 0.65m wide and 0.21m deep. The full extent of the base stone was
described and depicted as circular, 1.2m in diameter and 0.25m high, by the
historian A G Langdon in 1896.
The Trembath Cross is situated beside the southern side of the modern A30,
which follows the course of one of the main early routes across the Penwith
peninsula from Penzance. Although the modern main road later veers west
towards Land's End, this sector forms part of the medieval route running
south west directly towards the important early medieval monastic centre of St
Buryan, a route marked at intervals by several surviving medieval wayside
crosses. The cross also marks the crossing point on that route of a track
running to the north within the parish to the church at Madron.
The surface of the modern metalled road north of the cross and the disused
milk churn collection support east of the cross 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)
By conversation and letter, 8/93, Information given to MPPFW by Mr Andrew Langdon, (1993)
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 28698,
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