Chapel Amble Cross in St Kew churchyard, 30m north west of the church

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014010

Date first listed: 16-Feb-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Chapel Amble Cross in St Kew churchyard, 30m north west of the church
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: St. Kew

National Grid Reference: SX0212576911

Summary

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 Chapel Amble Cross has survived well, and is a good example of a wheel-headed cross. The chamfered edges of the shaft suggest that this is a late example. In its original location this cross probably marked the way to the medieval chapel of St Aldhelm at Chapel Amble. Its removal to the churchyard and re-erection there in the early 20th century illustrates the changing attitudes to religion which have prevailed since the medieval period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Chapel Amble Cross, situated to the north west of the church in St Kew churchyard in north Cornwall.

The wayside cross survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel' head. The overall height of the monument is 1.58m. The principal faces are orientated east-west. The granite head measures 0.52m high by 0.53m wide and is 0.23m thick. Both principal faces bear a relief equal limbed cross, with widely expanded ends to the limbs. The top of the upper limb on the west face has been fractured. A narrow bead 0.05m wide runs around the edge of each face. The rectangular-section shaft measures 1.06m high, 0.33m wide and is 0.19m thick. Both edges on the east face are chamfered with a 0.06m wide chamfer. The upper 0.63m of the west face on the north edge is also chamfered, and the lower edge has had the chamfer removed. The south edge has also been cut back to remove the chamfer; this face of the shaft appears to have been cut back from its original face, as an area 0.63m by 0.2m wide on the upper north side stands proud of the lower and south side. There is a 0.05m diameter lead filled hole containing a small lump of iron, 0.32m below the head on the east face, a result of its former reuse as a gatepost. The cross has a marked lean towards the south.

The Chapel Amble Cross was discovered in 1912 in use as a gatepost in a field at Chapel Amble, a hamlet 2.4km south west of St Kew. This wayside cross may have originally marked the route to the medieval chapel of St Aldhelm. It was found at the gate to a field named `chapel meadow', close to the probable site of the chapel. The historian Henderson stated that a chapel to St Aldhelm was licensed in 1383 at Chapel Amble. The cross was subsequently removed to the churchyard at St Kew and placed over an otherwise unmarked grave.

The headstones to the west and north of the cross where they fall within its protective margin are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath is included. The cross is Listed Grade II.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 28434

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Henderson, C, The Cornish Church Guide, (1928)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of North Cornwall, (1992)
Other
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 17929,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 07/17; Pathfinder Series 1338 Source Date: 1988 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing