Medieval wayside cross 35m SSW of Pendrea Cottage, south west of St Buryan


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 40599 25336

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 reasonably well and is a good example of a wheel-headed cross with its original head and shaft. Despite its minor relocation from its site of discovery, it remains a marker on the same route to the church within the parish, demonstrating well the major role of wayside crosses and showing clearly the longevity of many routes still in use. This is illustrated especially clearly in St Buryan parish as it retains an unusually complete series of surviving medieval wayside crosses, of which this monument forms an integral part.


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated beside a road running south west from St Buryan in west Cornwall. The medieval wayside cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives with a round `wheel' head on an upright granite shaft set in a modern base, measuring 0.83m in overall height. The head measures 0.36m high by 0.53m wide and 0.18m thick. Each principal face bears a relief equal-limbed cross with a central raised boss and markedly splayed limbs. The motif on the south east face is the more worn. The shaft measures 0.42m high by 0.36m wide and tapers in thickness from 0.19m at the base to 0.17m at the neck. The shaft is set in a modern rectangular granite base-slab, 0.78m east-west by 0.29m north-south and rising 0.05m above ground level. This wayside cross is situated at the south east side of a road running south west from St Buryan. It was found in a hedge 0.115km to the south west along the same route out of St Buryan in 1943 and it was re-erected in 1959 in a modern base at its present location. This cross is one of an unusually large number of surviving medieval wayside crosses that mark the several routes radiating out from the church at St Buryan into the parish. St Buryan is the site of a major Celtic monastery, traditionally thought to have been founded by Athelstan in the early 10th century.

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
Olson, L, Early Monasteries in Cornwall, (1989)
consulted 1993, CCRA Register entry for SW 42 NW/120 & SW 42 NW/120/1,
Given by letter, 8/93, Information given to the MPPFW by Mr Andrew Langdon, (1993)
Preston-Jones, A., AM107 text and maps for 1989 FMW visit to CO 803, (1989)
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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