Wayside cross in Luxulyan churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014223

Date first listed: 03-Jun-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 05-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross in Luxulyan 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: Luxulyan

National Grid Reference: SX 05188 58064


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 wayside cross in Luxulyan churchyard has survived well and is a good example of a wheel headed cross. Its former reuses as a gatepost, and as a garden ornament, and its subsequent removal and re-erection in the churchyard 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 to the west of the church in Luxulyan churchyard in southern central Cornwall.

The wayside cross survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel' head set in a large irregularly shaped boulder. The overall height of the monument is 1.66m. The principal faces are orientated east-west. The head measures 0.48m high by 0.55m wide and is 0.17m thick. Both principal faces bear a relief equal limbed cross with expanded ends to the limbs with traces of a narrow bead around the outer edge of the head. There is a 0.05m diameter hole near the top of the head on the east face. The shaft measures 0.83m high by 0.39m wide at the base tapering to 0.33m at the top and is 0.2m thick at the base tapering slightly to 0.18m at the top. On the east face is a 0.06m diameter hole near the base of the shaft. This hole and the one on the head are the result of the former reuse of the cross as a gatepost. The shaft is cemented into a large boulder of Luxulyanite, a local volcanic rock. This boulder measures 1.19m north-south by 0.67m east-west and is 0.35m high.

The wayside cross is located to the west of the church, by the west entrance into the churchyard. The cross originally stood on the Bodmin road at a place called Three Stiles, near Consence. It may have been in use as a gatepost at this site. The base is believed to be built into a hedge close to this site. The cross was removed to a rockery in the vicarage garden by the Reverend Grylls between 1813-1853 when he was vicar of Luxulyan. By 1896 when the historian Langdon recorded the cross, it had been re-erected in its present position in the churchyard at Luxulyan.

The metalled surface of the footpath passing to the east and north of the cross, the concrete filled cattlegrid, coffin resting stone and gates at the entrance to the churchyard to the south, and the iron gate to the north west where they lie 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: 28463

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 05/15; St Austell and Fowey Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing