Churchyard cross in Lanhydrock churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014228

Date first listed: 01-Feb-1996


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross in Lanhydrock churchyard
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1014228 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2018 at 19:23:01.


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

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Lanhydrock

National Grid Reference: SX0851563612


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 Lanhydrock churchyard cross has survived reasonably well. It forms an unusual example of an elaborately decorated four-holed cross as it has lost its outer ring which would have formed the holes between the limbs. The pulling down of the cross and its neglect until the mid 19th century, when it was re-erected in the churchyard, illustrate well the changing attitudes to religion that have prevailed since the Reformation and the impact of these changes on the local landscape.


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


The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross situated to the south east of the church in Lanhydrock churchyard, in southern central Cornwall.

The churchyard cross is visible as an upright granite shaft with its head in the shape of an equal limbed cross with widely splayed ends to the limbs. The cross measures 2.47m in overall height. The head measures 0.62m high by 0.75m wide and is 0.17m thick. The limbs of the cross head were originally linked by an outer ring which would have formed a four holed cross, the spaces between the limbs forming the holes. Traces of this outer ring survive on the sides of the limbs. Each principal face bears a circular raised boss at the intersection of the limbs, that on the west face has a double bead around the base of the boss, that on the east face, a single bead. The limbs are plain, their original decoration having eroded away. The head is joined to the shaft by a wide band of cement, up to 0.07m thick. The shaft measures 0.4m wide at the base tapering to 0.32m at the neck, and is 0.22m thick at the base widening slightly to 0.25m at the neck. The shaft has a 0.1m wide bead on all four corners. The west face bears a continuous panel of figure of eight interlaced knots down the length of the shaft, the east face displays a continuous panel of scroll work decoration. The north and south sides bear traces of interlace decoration.

This churchyard cross at some period in the past was thrown down and left lying around for many years. During this time, the outer ring was removed from the head and the head and shaft fractured. Prior to 1850 the cross was repaired and re-erected in its present position in Lanhydrock churchyard. The historian Langdon in 1896 dated the cross to the 13th century by the style of the scrollwork decoration on the shaft. More recent studies of churchyard crosses suggest that this cross is of tenth century date, and may have been erected before the mid tenth century.

The gravel footpath passing to the east, south and west of the cross but within its protective margin is excluded from the scheduling, although 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: 28443

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Pearce, S M, The Kingdom of Dumnonia, (1978)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 06/16; Pathfinder Series 1347 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing