Dunheved Cross, 80m west of Launceston Hospital
- 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 33155 83635
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
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 medieval components of the Dunheved Cross have survived reasonably well; despite the loss of the lower shaft section they show only minor damage from their period of reuse and burial. The unusual elaborate design of the cross head is unique in Cornwall and the monument as a whole shows features of the uncommon later medieval crosses. The monument remains by the original former crossroads marked by the cross base and formerly by the upper shaft, on the route from the south to the market town and administrative centre of Launceston, demonstrating the role of wayside crosses and showing clearly the longevity of many minor roads still in use. The former slighting of this cross, the known history of the shaft's reuse and of the burial of the head and base, together with the monument's subsequent assembly and re-erection, illustrate well the changing religious attitudes since the Reformation.
The monument includes a wayside cross known as the Dunheved Cross and a
protective margin around it, situated beside a minor road next to the main
east-west route, the modern A30 road, on the southern outskirts of Launceston
in east Cornwall.
The Dunheved Cross is visible as an upright granite shaft and head set in a
two stepped base. The cross is a composite structure of three medieval cross
parts found in the vicinity, together with a modern lower shaft and lower base
step. The upper basal step is a medieval cross base originally located at the
Badash, or Dunheved, crossroads, 20m north of the monument's present location.
The upper shaft of the monument was discovered 400m to the south west at
Badash Farm and is considered to have derived from the cross base when
complete. The cross head was discovered in a field on Tresmarrow Farm, 1.3km
to the WSW. The separate pieces were assembled, with the modern lower shaft
and lower base, at the Badash cross-roads in 1902. The resulting cross was
re-erected 20m further south to its present site when the Launceston by-pass,
the A30 trunk road, was built in 1981.
The cross head measures 0.56m high by 0.46m and is 0.12m thick, carved as an
unenclosed equal-limbed Latin cross. The cross motif is highly stylised: each
of the four limbs terminates with a curved flourish to either side, each
flourish forming one side of an incomplete round hole in the limb's quadrants.
This gives the head the overall impression of a Celtic cross, with the limbs
linked by a ring. The ends of the north east limb and the two flourishes from
the lower limb have repaired fractures.
The octagonal-section shaft, including the lower modern section, measures
2.28m high, tapering from 0.27m wide at the base to 0.16m wide at the top,
where the shaft becomes square in section. The north west face of the shaft
has two filled holes. The lower 0.85m of the shaft is modern, replacing the
missing section of shaft. The medieval stone base, forming the upper step of
the present basal structure, measures 0.8m square and 0.1m high. This base is
mounted on a modern granite base, the present lower step, measuring 2.7m long
by 1.1m wide. This modern base consists of two rectangular blocks of granite
with a grooved and moulded step at either end. The front of this modern base
is inscribed `Dunheved Cross'. On the rear edge of the modern base, 0.12m
north east of the medieval cross-base, is a stone plaque inscribed `1902 This
cross was restored and placed here near to its ancient site to commemorate the
Coronation of King Edward Vll'.
The cross base was found at the crossroads called Dunheved or Badash Cross,
20m north of the monument, in the 19th century; it was removed and built into
a hedge when the roads were widened and was recorded in 1896 by the historian
Langdon. At the turn of the century the upper section of monument's shaft was
discovered at Badash Farm by a Mr Cowland. In 1896, Langdon also noted the
cross head, found close to a hedge in a field near the Alexander Slate Quarry
at Tresmarrow and then removed to Launceston museum.
The three parts of the monument were assembled together and re-erected near
the original site of the Badash Cross on 27 June 1902, to mark the coronation
of Edward Vll. In 1974 the cross was removed while the Launceston bypass was
built; by 1981 it had been re-erected, 20m to the south in its present
location above the southern bank of the new road.
The Dunheved Cross is situated beside the modern line of the main medieval
route into Cornwall from the River Tamar crossing 2km to the east of
Launceston, a major administrative centre and market town during the medieval
period. This route is marked at intervals by several other medieval wayside
crosses and was later followed by the post-medieval turnpike road and by the
modern A30 trunk road. The monument also stands close to the original site of
the cross base at the Badash, or Dunheved, crossroads on one of the main
routes south out of Launceston.
The metalled surface of the modern road passing to the west and north west of
the cross base and the surface of the modern footpath to the north east and
south west of the cross base 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:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of North Cornwall, (1992)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
consulted 1994, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 2669,
consulted 1994, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 2669.1,
consulted 1994, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 2669.2,
consulted 1994, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 2669.3,
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 38 SW Source Date: 1983 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 3383 Source Date: 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