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 within 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 Vincent Mine Cross has survived well. Despite its minor relocation, it
remains as a marker beside its original route and close to its original
position. It forms a good example of the rather uncommon 'Latin' cross type,
with its head and shaft complete. The location of this cross beside a route of
prime importance since the medieval period and marked by other medieval
crosses shows well the major function of wayside crosses and the longevity of
many major thoroughfares still in use.
The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Vincent Mine
Cross, situated beside the main route into Cornwall as it crosses north east
Bodmin Moor in eastern Cornwall.
The Vincent Mine Cross survives with an upright granite head and shaft. The
cross-head has unenclosed arms, a form called a 'Latin' cross, its principal
faces orientated to the south east and north west. The cross stands 0.71m
high. The head measures 0.57m across the side-arms, each of which is 0.23m
wide. The upper limb is 0.23m high, 0.23m wide and tapers markedly in
thickness from 0.16m at its base to 0.08m at its terminal edge. The shaft
rises 0.31m to the side-arms, is 0.16m thick and tapers in width from 0.35m at
ground level to 0.31m at the side-arms.
The Vincent Mine Cross is situated at the north west side of the main route
into Cornwall as it crosses north east Bodmin Moor from the River Tamar
crossing near Launceston to the ENE. This route has been of considerable
importance since the medieval period and is marked at intervals by several
other surviving wayside crosses. It subsequently developed into a turnpike
road and remains of major importance as a national route, the modern A30T. The
cross derives its name from the nearby 19th century St Vincent's Mine. This
cross was recorded by the historian Langdon in 1896 as being on a hedgebank on
the south east side of the road. The cross was moved slightly from that
location in 1969 for road widening and it was relocated to its present
position on the opposite side of the road when this section of the A30T was
converted to dual carriageway in 1991-2. While the cross was awaiting
re-erection during the latter relocation, its total length, out of the
ground, was measured as 1.32m.
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.