Tremethick Cross, 760m east of Tremethick Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010844

Date first listed: 19-May-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Jan-1995


Ordnance survey map of Tremethick Cross, 760m east of Tremethick 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: Penzance

National Grid Reference: SW 44842 30143


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 Tremethick Cross has survived well as a good example of the rather uncommon `Latin' cross type. Although it has been moved from its original location, its present position as a waymarker on an major route across the Penwith peninsula illustrates the major role of wayside crosses; its post- medieval re-erection here demonstrates a revival of the tradition of erecting crosses at junctions, showing one aspect in the changing religious sentiments since the Reformation.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Tremethick Cross, the mound on which it is now sited and a protective margin around it, situated at a fork in the main route west across the Penwith peninsula from Newlyn and Penzance to St Just in west Cornwall. The Tremethick Cross survives as an upright head and shaft. The cross-head has unenclosed arms, a form called a `Latin' cross, its principal faces orientated to face east and west. The cross stands 1.61m high. The head measures 0.5m across its side arms. Each arm is 0.33m wide; the intact north arm is 0.32m long, the south arm is fractured, surviving to 0.07m long. The upper limb is 0.33m high, tapering asymmetrically to a rounded end. The shaft measures 0.25m wide and 0.36m thick, tapering to 0.32m thick below the side arms. The cross is situated on top of an artificial earthen mound with no visible base stone, however the historian Langdon noted an overgrown base slab on the mound in 1896. The mound supporting the cross measures 9m north-south by 7m east-west and rises 0.75m high. Langdon records a local tradition that this mound was a prehistoric funerary barrow. The monument is located in the western angle of a fork in the main route west from Penzance to Newlyn across the Penwith peninsula to St Just. In 1872, the historian Blight recorded that the cross had been moved to its present location from Rose-an-Beagle, 3km to the south in Paul parish. The metalled surface of the roads passing to the north and south of the mound but within the area of the protective margin 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: 26240

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing