Leswidden Stone, 370m south west of Leswidden


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010862

Date first listed: 07-Feb-1995


Ordnance survey map of Leswidden Stone, 370m south west of Leswidden
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: St. Just

National Grid Reference: SW 39646 30077


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 Leswidden Stone has survived well, forming an unusual example of a medieval wayside cross which also functioned as a boundary stone. There is no record of the cross ever having moved from its original position, marking the way within the parish to the church and on the main route to the next parish, at the crossing point with two other tracks of medieval religious significance to the nearby chapels and holy well. At this location, the monument demonstrates well the major roles of wayside crosses and the longevity of many routes still in use. It function as a boundary marker between three early estates or manors demonstrates the variety of roles adopted by some wayside crosses.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross and boundary stone known as the Leswidden Stone beside the road linking the adjacent parishes of St Just and Sancreed in the West Penwith peninsula in west Cornwall. The Leswidden Stone survives as an upright granite shaft, 0.93m high, set in a rectangular granite base stone. The shaft measures 0.34m wide by 0.3m thick at the base, widening to 0.44m at the top. The shaft is roughly shaped, of rectangular section, wider at the top than at the base. The north west face of the shaft is straight upright, but the south east face slopes inwards to the base. Incised in the upper face of the shaft is a small equal limbed cross, measuring 0.12m south east to north west by 0.14m north east to south west. The shaft is cemented into the rectangular base slab, which measures 1.2m south east to north west by 1m north east to south west and is 0.21m high above ground level. The Leswidden Stone is situated by the south west side of a road linking the parishes of St Just and Sancreed on the west Penwith peninsula at the point where it is crossed by tracks to the medieval chapel of Bosence, 1.2km to the north east, and to the medieval chapel and well at Carn Euny, 1.4km to the south east. The historian Langdon in 1896 records the monument at this location, considering it to be the stump of a wayside cross and noting it is also at the junction of the early estates of Carn Glaze, Bartinney and Leswidden, hence combining the functions of a wayside cross with a boundary stone.

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: 26239

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
consulted 1994, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 29806,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Maps; SW 33/43 & SW 32/42 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing