Medieval churchyard cross in Lanteglos by Fowey churchyard, 2m south of the church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014012

Date first listed: 18-Jul-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Dec-1995


Ordnance survey map of Medieval churchyard cross in Lanteglos by Fowey churchyard, 2m south of the church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Lanteglos

National Grid Reference: SX 14470 51510


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

Reasons for Designation

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone, mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD). Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the scenes of games or recreational activity. Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the 13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base, buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their original location, are considered worthy of protection.

The medieval lantern cross in Lanteglos by Fowey churchyard has survived well and is a good example of a lantern cross, a rare type of churchyard cross in Cornwall. The later octagonal cross shaft is unusual in being a decorated example. Despite its minor relocation, the cross retains its original function as the churchyard cross. The burial of the cross head, and its re-erection on the shaft and millstone base in the 19th century, illustrates well the changing attitudes to religion that have prevailed since the Reformation and their impact on the local landscape.


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


The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross in Lanteglos by Fowey churchyard on the south east coast of Cornwall.

The Lanteglos by Fowey churchyard cross survives as a granite lantern head (so called because the shape of the rectangular head is of a similar shape to a lantern), on an octagonal shaft set on a round, millstone base. The cross is 3m high and the principal faces are orientated north west-south east. The head is elaborately decorated with sculpted figures, those on the sides set within canopies topped with pointed arches, those on the principal faces set below two ornately arched holes which completely pierce the head. The top of the head forms a low roof shape with fractured pinnacles at each corner. On the north west face there is a crucifixion scene, a figure of Christ hanging from the cross; on the south west face are the virgin and child. There is a figure on each side of the head, both of whom are probably saints, possibly St Peter and St Paul. The four corners of the head form moulded edges to the canopies on each side. The head is cemented onto an octagonal-section granite shaft. The shaft measures 2.52m high. Four of the octagonal sides measure 0.23m wide at the base tapering to 0.15m at the top; the other four sides measure 0.16m wide at the base tapering to 0.12m at the top. The four narrow sides are decorated at intervals with various motifs, such as wheels, the space between motifs being recessed. The north, east, south and west sides of the shaft slope out above the base, to form the square section moulded foot. The shaft is set in a large circular mill wheel measuring 1.1m north east-south west by 1.12m north west-south east and 0.2m high. The top of this mill wheel has incised grooves radiating out from its centre. This lantern cross is situated to the south of the church porch at Lanteglos by Fowey. The cross was found in 1838 buried in a trench at the west end of the church. It was left lying on the ground for two or three years before being re-erected in its present position on a millstone base. The cross head was probably part of the original churchyard cross, and the shaft may be part of a different cross though they are of a similar date, the 14th-15th centuries.

The chest tomb grave to the north east of the cross, the headstone to the south east and the gravel and slate surfaces of the footpaths and steps to the south west and north west of the cross where they fall within its protective margin are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath is included.

This 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.


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

Legacy System number: 28436

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
May, R G M, Lanteglos by Fowey History of St Wyllow, (1952)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 26793,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 05/15; St Austell and Fowey Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 05/15; St Austell and Fowey Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing