Bodilly Cross, at Bodilly Veor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010851

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Jan-1995


Ordnance survey map of Bodilly Cross, at Bodilly Veor
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Wendron

National Grid Reference: SW 66927 32295


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 Bodilly Cross has survived well. It forms a good and complete example of the rare sub-group of Cornish wayside crosses formed as simple slabs. The designs employed are unusual. Although relocated from its original position, its present and original locations are on radial church paths within the parish which, together with its known former situation at a crossroads on an important medieval and later regional route, shows well the relationship between such crosses and early thoroughfares. The recorded local tradition that the cross was called the `Wendron God' and that passers-by `crossed themselves' demonstrates an unusually strong survival of the reverence in which some wayside crosses were held.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Bodilly Cross, and a protective margin around it, situated beside the road at Bodilly Veor, a hamlet north west of Wendron in south west Cornwall. The Bodilly Cross survives as an upright granite slab rising 1.12m above ground level, set in a granite base which is almost completely covered by a thick layer of turf. The head measures 0.5m wide by 0.3m thick, its upper edge is a roughly fashioned curve in contrast to the dressed sides of the shaft. The east principal face of the head bears a deeply recessed equal limbed upright cross, 0.39m high by 0.34m wide. The west principal face bears a cross motif level with the background surface and delineated by four raised triangular projections. These projections have rounded outer edges, their right-angled inner sides forming the outline of the cross. The shaft is 0.51m wide by 0.36m thick, and is undecorated except for two incised letters: on the north face an `H', on the south face an `R', indicating that the cross has at some time been reused as a boundary stone. The historian Langdon in 1896 states that the cross was sunk about 0.6m in the ground, the base consisting of rough blocks of granite. This base is almost entirely covered by a thick layer of turf, but at the lower end of the shaft's west side a large granite block is visible, measuring 0.16m high, 1m wide and 0.54m thick. The Bodilly Cross is now situated on a wide grass verge beside the modern minor road at Bodilly Veor, a hamlet to the north west of Wendron in south west Cornwall. The cross is on a direct route radiating from the parish church at Wendron and is close to the site of a medieval chapel at Bodilly dedicated to St Henry. The direct church path from Wendron passing by this cross is preserved by a combination of public footpaths and modern roads. Until 1855, the Bodilly Cross was located at a crossroads at Farms Common, 2km to the north east, on the next radial route out from Wendron to the north and on what was the main medieval and later route through this part of the Cornish peninsula. The Bodilly Cross had been a prominent feature there and Langdon in 1896 records that this cross was known locally as the `Wendron God' and that an older resident recalled that people `crossed themselves' when passing it, a custom harking back to the original religious purpose of medieval wayside crosses. In 1855 the cross was thrown down, later to be re-erected at its original site. About 1865 it was again removed and buried in a hedge close by. In 1886 William Moyle, the farmer of the Bodilly Estate, searched for and found this cross, having it re-erected in its present position. The metal peg and wire guy cable securing the nearby telegraph pole north west of the cross but within the area of the protective margin are 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: 24309

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Henderson, C, The Cornish Church Guide, (1928)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
consulted 1994, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 30308,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing