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 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 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

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