Woodley Cross, opposite Fernside Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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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:
SX 02711 63951

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 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.

This wayside cross has survived reasonably well. Despite the loss of its base, it remains a good example of a wheel-headed cross and has an unusual head design. Although relocated, it remains near to its original position and beside the major important route through the peninsula by whose former course it lay. Its known former position on a church path demonstrates well one of the major roles of wayside crosses. This is especially well-illustrated in Lanivet parish as it retains an unusually extensive series of surviving medieval wayside crosses on its church paths, of which this cross forms an integral part.


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Woodley Cross, surrounded by a 2m protective margin, situated 1km west of Lanivet beside the former line of the main route through mid-Cornwall, opposite Fernside Farm. The Woodley Cross survives with an upright granite shaft and a round 'wheel' head set in a modern double-stepped base. The head measures 0.47m high by 0.55m wide and is 0.14m thick. Each principal face is decorated with an equal-limbed cross whose quadrants, between the limbs, are defined by a slightly raised triangular boss, projecting up to 0.01m from the surface of the head and outlined by a shallow groove. The shaft stands 0.6m high, tapering downwards in width from 0.31m at the neck to 0.28m at the base, and tapering upwards in thickness from 0.25m at the base to 0.18m at the neck. The shaft is cemented into a square double-stepped modern base. The upper step is 0.96m square and 0.15m high. The lower step is 1.5m long by 1.53m wide, its upper surface set flush with the ground. Each step is constructed of dressed granite slabs cemented together, except for a roughly-shaped slab forming the south east block of the lower step. In 1896 the historian Langdon recorded the Woodley Cross as lying flat on the ground beside its medieval base-stone, close to and north of its present position on land then owned by Woodley Farm. The cross was located on a track leading directly towards the church at Lanivet and close to the main medieval and later route along the Cornish peninsula. Prior to the modern enclosure of this area, both the main route and the church track followed undefined courses across the former downland in the vicinity of this cross. The cross and its base were subsequently lost, then, in the 1920s, the shaft was noticed in use as a gatepost. After being lost again, the shaft was rediscovered in 1972 lying in a field 0.15km south west of its present location. The shaft was lost yet again but found in 1983. In that year it was re-erected at its present location, near to its original position and beside the main medieval and later route. The metalled surface of the modern road passing 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)
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 21212,
Given by letter & telephone, 8/93, Information given to MPPFW by Mr Andrew Langdon, (1993)
Title: 1": 1 mile Ordnance Survey Map; sheet 30; Camelford Source Date: 1865 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 06/16; Pathfinder Series 1347 Source Date: 1989 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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