Fair Cross, 420m WNW of Tregidgeo Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010843

Date first listed: 02-Jan-1959

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Jan-1995


Ordnance survey map of Fair Cross, 420m WNW of Tregidgeo Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Grampound with Creed

National Grid Reference: SW 95605 47361


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 Fair Cross has survived reasonably well in its original location despite the loss of its head. Its form is characteristic of late medieval cross shafts and the survival of evidence naming the rector responsible for its erection is rare. Its location on an important medieval route demonstrates well the major role of wayside crosses and shows clearly the longevity of many routes still in use. The subsequent decline of that route and one of its destination towns, Tregony, also shows well the development of the road network and the changing hierarchies of settlements. The relationship between wayside crosses and early thoroughfares is shown at a local level by the cross's location on a route within the parish to the church at Creed. This monument forms an integral part of an unusual grouping of such later medieval wayside crosses in this area.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross shaft and base, known as the Fair Cross, situated beside a minor modern road forming the early route from Tregony to St Austell in mid Cornwall. The Fair Cross is also a Grade II Listed Building.

The monument survives with an upright octagonal-section shaft of Pentewan stone, 1.2m high, set in an obscured stone base. The shaft measures 0.26m across opposing flat facets at the base and 0.33m across opposite corners, each facet being 0.11m wide. The facets taper slightly to 0.1m wide at a point 0.17m below the upper end, where the octagonal section changes to a square section, 0.1m in width and thickness. In the upper face of the shaft is a narrow round socket, 0.07m in diameter and 0.14m deep, for mounting the missing head. The east side of the shaft top has been fractured, breaking away the east side of the socket. The shaft has relatively recent incised lettering and numbers on the northern facets, comprising, from the top downwards, the letter `R', then `CJ', followed by `192', and finally `LM'. The cross has been painted white; originally it was unpainted. The base is not visible being completely overgrown by a thick layer of turf.

The Fair Cross is situated on the south side of the road close to a junction on the route from St Austell to Tregony; although presently a small village, Tregony was an important medieval market town and port on the River Fal during the medieval period and this route linking it with St Austell was consequently of greater importance in the medieval route network than it is today. The cross lies near the centre of a widely staggered junction on that route where it is crossed by the ESE-WNW route from the port of Mevagissey to Grampound. A branch west from that route extends down to the parish church at Creed within whose area this monument was erected.

The style of this cross-shaft, notably its octagonal-section shaft, indicates a later medieval date, during the 15th century, towards the end of the medieval cross series. It forms one of a group of such 15th century crosses of Pentewan stone surviving in this area and which are considered to have been erected by Reginald Mertherderwa, the Rector of Creed from AD 1423 to 1447, whose surviving will also directed stone crosses to be erected on routes to Camborne church in west Cornwall.

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: 24305

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Halliday, F E, A History of Cornwall, (1975)
Henderson, C, The Cornish Church Guide, (1928)
Information told to MPP fieldworker by Mr Andrew Langdon, (1993)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 94/SX 04; Mevagissey and Tregony Source Date: 1984 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing