Wayside cross in Tresmeer churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014222

Date first listed: 30-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross in Tresmeer churchyard
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Tresmeer

National Grid Reference: SX 23368 87486


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.

This wayside cross in Tresmeer churchyard has survived well and is a good example of the rather uncommon `Latin' cross type. The relief Latin cross on both principal faces is unusual. Its various re-locations in Laneast parish and its re-erection in the churchyard at Tresmeer in the 19th century demonstrates well the changing attitudes to religion and their impact on the local landscape since the medieval period.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated within the churchyard at Tresmeer in north Cornwall. The wayside cross survives as an upright head and shaft standing to a height of 0.51m. The cross-head has unenclosed arms, a form called a `Latin' cross, its principal faces orientated east-west. The head measures 0.49m wide across the side arms, each of which are 0.14m high and 0.09m thick. Each principal face bears a Latin cross in high relief with slightly splayed ends to the limbs. The shaft measures 0.2m wide and is 0.12m thick. The cross is located just beyond the east end of the church between two graves. This wayside cross was first recorded in 1858 by the antiquarian Blight as being near the site of the old parsonage house near Penpol, Laneast, 3.5km to the south of Tresmeer. In 1866 it was moved from this site, probably to Laneast churchyard. The historian, Langdon, in 1886 saw the cross in Laneast churchyard, but by 1890 it had been removed. By 1896 when Langdon visited Tresmeer churchyard the cross was acting as a memorial stone on the grave of Reverend Morgan. The grave with its headstone to the north west of the cross but within its protective margin is excluded from the scheduling, although 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.


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

Legacy System number: 28462

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of North Cornwall, (1992)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 2416.1,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 28/38; Pathfinder Series 1326 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing