The Longstone medieval wayside cross 750m SW of Minions
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1011901
Date first listed: 22-Mar-1932
Date of most recent amendment: 03-Dec-1992
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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. Cleer
National Grid Reference: SX 25548 70558
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 among 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 places so marked might be on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements or the routes may 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, due in part to their development over the period during which they were erected, but several regional types have been identified. The Cornish wayside crosses form one such variant, drawing greatly for their designs on the local traditions employed for crosses at churchyards, monastic and market sites. Commonest among these are crosses made from a single slab, with a round, or `wheel', head on whose faces various forms of cross were carved. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ, with perforations between the cross-arms or mouldings between the head and shaft, or with decoration on the shaft which can be especially elaborate on some early examples. Less common forms employed as wayside crosses in Cornwall 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 religious expression and to our knowledge of medieval routeways, settlement patterns and the development of sculptural traditions. All wayside crosses which survive as earth-fast monuments, except those which are both extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.
The Longstone cross has survived well. It is complete, in its original location and has suffered only very minor disturbance to part of its stone-setting. Its form and decoration typifies one of the common sub-groups of Cornish crosses, of which it ranks among the best preserved. Its proximity to broadly contemporary field systems and its moorland location near a roadway still in use and marked by other wayside crosses along its course demonstrates well the organisation of land use during the medieval period, the function of wayside crosses and the continuity of parts of the route network from the medieval period to the present day.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes a complete medieval cross erected beside a major early
route on the southern edge of Craddock Moor on SE Bodmin Moor. The Longstone
is one of at least three medieval crosses adjacent to this route and the cross
is situated close to extensive areas of broadly contemporary cultivation
The Longstone is visible as an upright granite pillar, 2.6m high, with a
distinct lean towards the south. The cross has a circular head, 0.7m in
diameter. The head tapers in thickness from 0.32m at the neck to 0.16m at the
upper edge. This taper is entirely due to a massive irregular flake removed
from the eastern face of the original slab, with the decoration on this face
imposed on the irregular fracture surface; the western face by contrast
continues uniformly the line of the shaft surface. The point at which the head
merges with the shaft is marked by a small raised moulding across each side.
The shaft is of sub-rectangular section, measuring 0.6m NNE-SSW by 0.35m
WNW-ESE at the base. The shaft barely tapers in width from base to neck,
though a slight increase in thickness towards the base is caused by an
increasingly curved, rather than flattened, eastern face.
The cross-head is decorated on each face by a low-relief upright cross with
slightly flared, broad arms, set within a raised periphery. A narrow groove
separates the terminals of the cross-arms from the periphery. Beneath the
head, a plain rectangular panel extends down the upper third of the shaft on
both west and east faces. The panel is defined by a shallow pecked groove
close to each side of the shaft and is closed by a similar groove across the
base. The panel on the eastern face is particularly faint due to surface
erosion, but it is supplemented by another, horizontal, pecked groove across
the upper third of the panel.
Immediately around the cross-base is a group of large slabs, up to 1.5m long,
lying flat on the surface, which represent the remains of packing to support
the cross in position. These slabs still rest firmly against the west and
south edges of the cross-base, with fragments of others embedded in the
surface up to 1m from the cross. A well-defined surface hollow against the
east side of the cross marks the former location of another such slab, removed
by stone robbers. The survival of the Longstone, also called Long Tom, in its
original prominent position beside a well-used routeway has led to its
frequent description in reviews of Cornish monuments since the visits of
antiquaries in the eighteenth century.
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: 15164
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Britton, J, Architectural Antiquities of Great Britain11
Gibson, , Additions to Camden, (1772), 153
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896), 301-2
King, G, Sheppard, P, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Parochial Checklist of Antiquities 10: Parish of North Hill, , Vol. 18, (1979), 128-132
Consulted 1/1992, Carter, A/RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription for SX 2570,
consulted 1/1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1410,
Photo taken on MPP visit, 14/1/1992, Hooley, AD, East face of the Longstone Cross, (1992)
Site management notes; 27/3/1984, Sheppard, P A, FMW report (AM 107) for CO 167, (1984)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Maps; SX 26/36 & SX 27/37 Source Date: 1988 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Consulted 1/1992
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