Medieval wayside cross head 75m east of Newpark


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011826

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Jul-1994


Ordnance survey map of Medieval wayside cross head 75m east of Newpark
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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. Clether

National Grid Reference: SX 17140 83723


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

Reasons for Designation

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. 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 which might have a more specifically religious function, including providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions. Wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration but several regional types have been identified. The Cornish wayside crosses form one such group. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces of which various forms of cross were carved. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ. Less common forms include the `Latin' cross, where the cross-head itself is shaped as the arms of an unenclosed cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low-relief cross on both faces. Over 400 crosses of all types are recorded in Cornwall. Of the 35 surviving on Bodmin Moor, 21 are recorded as wayside crosses. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval routeways, settlement patterns and the development of sculptural traditions. 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.

This cross head has survived intact as one of the largest known wheel-shaped cross heads and the large upper projection is unusual. Despite having been relocated and for long been parted from its shaft and base, its original position nearby is known, where it not only demonstrated the major role of wayside crosses in marking a moorland route but it also formed part of an important group of broadly contemporary religious monuments. Its original proximity to that group, whose other monuments have remained in situ on Roughtor, illustrates well the relationship between medieval religious attitudes and the topography in this remote and distinctive terrain.


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


The monument includes the head of a medieval wayside cross situated at a road junction near Davidstow Moor on the northern edge of Bodmin Moor in north Cornwall. The cross is visible as a large round granite `wheel' head, set upright and firmly embedded in the ground. The head measures 0.79m high by 0.74m wide and 0.26m thick. Each principal face is decorated with a bold relief equal-limbed cross with expanded ends. This relief cross measures 0.54m across the limbs, which expand to 0.19m wide at their terminal edges. The relief cross is set within a peripheral bead, 0.05m wide, on each face. Two rounded bosses project 0.06m beyond the edge of the head on either side at the neck, just below the base of the head. A third projection, broad and rectangular in plan, rises 0.06m from the top of the head, its upper edge curved parallel with the perimeter of the head. The cross head is situated on a wide grass verge at the junction of two minor roads skirting the northern edge of Bodmin Moor near Davidstow Moor. The cross head was moved to this present site in 1885 from its former location at the foot of Roughtor, a distinctive hill 3.75km to the south west, where it had been noted as a former wayside cross by the historian A G Langdon. In that original location, the cross formed one of several medieval crosses marking the moorland routes across north west Bodmin Moor from the broad coastal strip to the west. Several of these routes converged on the western slope of Roughtor and were still extant to be marked on the early 19th century first edition of the 1 inch: 1 mile Ordnance Survey map. Roughtor hill itself was a focus for medieval religious monuments, among which this cross head was formerly included, together with a small chapel on the summit and a holy well on the upper north west slope. In its present location, this cross head is situated close to the north east end of the main route passing the foot of Roughtor at Trevillian's Gate.

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: 24281

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of North Cornwall, (1992)
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 17717,
Title: 1": 1 mile Ordnance Survey Map; sheet 30; Camelford Source Date: 1889 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 08/18; Pathfinder Series 1325; Camelford Source Date: 1986 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing