Medieval wayside cross at Paul


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010322

Date first listed: 16-Feb-1994


Ordnance survey map of Medieval wayside cross at Paul
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1010322 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 21-Jan-2019 at 18:15:38.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Penzance

National Grid Reference: SW 46536 27037


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 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 wayside cross at Paul has survived well. It forms a good example of a wheel-headed wayside cross, bearing a distinctive and unusual style of cross head motif. Although slightly re-located from its burial site by its former position, it remains as a marker on the same important route and way to the church within the parish. As such a marker, this cross demonstrates well the major function of wayside crosses and shows the longevity of many roads still in use. The burial of this cross in the hedgebank until the later 19th century and its subsequent restoration illustrates the changing attitudes to religion that have prevailed since the Reformation and the impact of those changes on the landscape.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross and a 2m protective margin situated at the south-east edge of Paul beside the road to Mousehole on the southern coast of Penwith in west Cornwall. The wayside cross at Paul survives with an upright granite shaft and a round or 'wheel' head set in a square base, measuring 1.35m in overall height. The head is 0.54m in diameter and 0.19m thick. Each principal face of the head bears a relief Latin cross measuring 0.73m high and 0.43m across the limbs. The upper limbs have slightly splayed ends, while the lower limb gradually tapers as it extends beyond the head down the centre of the shaft. The rectangular-section shaft measures 0.38m high from the base to the neck and is 0.39m wide and 0.19m thick. The shaft is undecorated apart from the extended lower limb of the head's relief cross forming a raised midline along most of the shaft on each main face. The shaft is cemented into the centre of a large square granite base stone with weathered, dressed faces and measuring 0.84m long by 0.85m wide and 0.43m high. This base stone is located on two adjoining granite slabs forming a plinth measuring 1.05m east-west by 1.19m north-south and projecting up to 0.36m beyond the south face of the base stone. This wayside cross and its base stone were discovered c.1878 buried in the hedgebank almost opposite its present location on the road to Mousehole; such deliberate slighting and burial next to their former locations affected a number of wayside crosses during the Reformation (c.1540). By 1896, the cross had been re-erected at its present site, close to its former location and sharing the same relationship to the roads in the vicinity. It marks a minor junction at the south-east edge of the village, on the important road linking the village and its parish church with the harbour at Mousehole, also within the parish, 0.75km to the south-east. The cross is sited on the junction of the Mousehole road with an unmetalled track to the present vicarage in the village. The surfaces of the metalled road south of the cross and the unmetalled track to the east, and the fire hydrant marker-post to the west of the cross are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features 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: 24277

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Henderson, C, The Cornish Church Guide, (1928)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Info. told to MPPFW by Mr Andrew Langdon on 19/7/1993, (1993)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 32/42; Pathfinder Series 1368 Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing