Trevorgans Cross 375m east of Crows-an-wra
- 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 39996 27550
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 Trevorgans Cross has survived well, remaining as a marker on its original route despite being relocated a short distance along that route. A good example of this unusual and distinctive cross design, it forms one of the earliest wayside crosses and is a source of important information on the production and stylistic development of early medieval crosses, as reflected by its specific mention in a recent study of this subject. The location of this cross beside a parish church path demonstrates well one of the major functions of wayside crosses and shows the longevity of many routes still in use. These aspects are illustrated with especial clarity in St Buryan parish as it retains an unusually complete series of such wayside crosses, of which this monument forms an integral part.
The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Trevorgans Cross,
surrounded by a 2m protective margin, situated beside a junction of the same
name where the main east-west route across the Penwith peninsula from Penzance
to Land's End meets a road running south east to St Buryan, in west Cornwall.
The Trevorgans Cross, which is Listed Grade II, is visible as an upright
granite shaft and a round 'wheel' head set on a double-stepped base, measuring
1.14m in overall height. The head is 0.42m high, 0.45m wide and 0.18m thick.
The south principal face of the head bears a bold relief Latin cross. This
cross motif measures 0.35m across the side arms and 0.5m high. The side arms
are slightly splayed, while the upper limb is very widely expanded to its
terminal edge. The lower limb extends down the length of the shaft. The north
principal face of the head and upper shaft bears a relief figure of Christ,
measuring 0.57m high and 0.42m wide. The figure is depicted with outstretched
arms and long legs with large out-turned feet. This figure is set relatively
low on the head and its legs extend down onto the shaft. The rectangular-
section shaft rises 0.24m from the base to the neck, tapering from 0.37m wide
at the base to 0.34m at the neck, and is 0.15m thick. The shaft is cemented
into a double-stepped base. The upper step is a roughly shaped rectangular
block of granite measuring 0.69m long by 0.75m wide and 0.28m high. The lower
step measures 1.22m long by 1.27m wide and 0.2m deep, and is a composite of
several large granite slabs cemented together.
The Trevorgans Cross is situated on the main east-west route across the
Penwith peninsula at its intersection with one of several church paths, now a
modern minor road, which radiate into the parish from the church and village
of St Buryan. This cross was formerly situated 0.7km to the south beside a
hedge at No Man's Land, on the same radial route out of St Buryan, when it was
recorded by the historian Langdon in 1896. Langdon noted it had been moved
down from the top of the hedge recent to his visit and records the cross
without its present base. By 1960 the cross had been set in its base at its
present location. This is one of several surviving medieval crosses marking
the various radial routes in this parish. St Buryan, the site of a major
Celtic monastery traditionally founded by Athelstan in the early 10th century
AD, forms the focus of a distinctive series of crosses bearing the figure of
Christ motif present on this cross's head. A recent study of these crosses, in
which this cross is specifically mentioned, has considered that they date to
the late 9th or early 10th century and provide a major design inspiration for
the mid 10th century development of a highly elaborate series of west Cornish
The metalled surface of the modern road north west of the cross 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)
Thomas, C, 'Anglo-Saxon and Viking Age Sculpture and its Context' in Ninth Century Sculpture in Cornwall: a note, , Vol. 49, (1978), 75-9
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 28487,
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 28487.1,
Given by letter, 8/93, Information given to MPPFW by Mr Andrew Langdon, (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