Medieval wayside cross in the churchyard at St Endellion
- 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)
- St. Endellion
- National Grid Reference:
- SW 99630 78671
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.
This wayside cross in St Endellion churchyard has survived well despite being mounted on a possible mullion fragment. It is a good example of the rather uncommon `Latin' cross type, with unusual circular-section limbs. Its removal from the medieval manor of Tresungers to the churchyard at St Endellion in the early 20th century demonstrates well the changing attitudes to religion and their impact on the local landscape since the medieval period.
The monument includes a medieval wayside cross mounted on an architectural
fragment in the western extension to the churchyard at St Endellion on the
north coast of Cornwall.
The wayside cross survives as an upright granite head and upper shaft set on a fragment of moulded granite. The cross-head has unenclosed arms, a form called a `Latin' cross, its principal faces orientated east and west. The overall height of the monument is 1.05m. The head measures 0.44m across the side arms, each of which are 0.14m wide and 0.19m thick. The upper limb is 0.19m high by 0.2m wide and 0.18m thick. The three upper limbs are circular in section, and there is a small, shallow indentation in the top of the upper limb. The circular-section shaft is 0.2m wide by 0.12m thick. The head and upper section of the shaft are joined to the architectural fragment of moulded granite by a wide band of cement up to 0.2m thick. This fragment of granite measures 0.27m wide by 0.13m thick. The east face of the fragment is plain, and the sides slope in to the narrower west face, forming rounded mouldings to either side of the west face. The shaft of the cross is wider than the granite fragment that it is mounted on.
This cross was removed from the medieval manor of Tresungers, 1km to the north east of St Endellion, in 1922. It was mounted on the granite fragment, possibly part of a window mullion, to increase its height. The cross was then erected in the western extension to the churchyard at St Endellion, in its present location. It was illustrated by the historian Maclean in 1873, revealing a hole in the base of the shaft. Its size and shape suggest that it may originally have been a gable cross.
The headstone and surrounding kerb to the north of the cross and the memorial plaque to the north west, where they fall within the protective margin of the cross 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, Stone Crosses of North Cornwall, (1992)
Maclean, J, History of Trigg Minor, (1873)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 26277,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 87/97; Pathfinder Series 1337 Source Date: 1981 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 07/17; Pathfinder Series 1338 Source Date: 1988 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