Churchyard cross in Cardinham churchyard, 5m south of the church
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1014231
Date first listed: 30-Sep-1957
Date of most recent amendment: 05-Jan-1996
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SX 12300 68683
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 churchyard cross at Cardinham has survived well. It forms a good example of an elaborately decorated four-holed, wheel-headed cross. It has several rare features including the inscription on the shaft and the interlaced knot decoration on the head. The reuse of the cross as building material in the 15th century and its re-erection in the churchyard in the 19th century, demonstrate well the changing attitudes to religion since the medieval period. This cross maintains its original function as a churchyard cross, in its original churchyard.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross situated to the south of
Cardinham church on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor in south east Cornwall.
The churchyard cross is visible as an upright granite shaft with a round or
`wheel' head, measuring 2.6m in overall height. The head measures 0.91m in
diameter, it is 0.23m thick, and is fully pierced by four holes creating an
equal limbed cross with widely splayed arms linked by an outer ring. The
principal faces are orientated north-south. Both principal faces are
decorated. Each limb of the cross is decorated with an interlaced knot, these
are linked to each other around a central boss. This decoration has been
eroded away on the lower and east limb on the south face. The edges of the
limbs are outlined with a single bead. The upper limbs extend slightly beyond
the ring, and the ends of the two side limbs are decorated with a panel of
interlace design. A raised bead or rib decorates the outer edge of the ring.
The head is joined to the shaft by cement. The shaft measures 1.72m high by
0.61m wide at the base, tapering to 0.45m at the neck, and is 0.37m thick at
the base tapering to 0.22m at the neck. The top of the shaft has been
fractured and is missing. The shaft has a 0.08m wide bead on all four corners,
and all four faces are decorated. The south principal face is divided into
three panels, the top panel bearing the lower part of an inscription incised
in an early medieval form of script derived from Roman style capitals. The
inscription reads `arthi' or `arahi'. Below the inscription is a small incised
equal limbed cross. The middle panel bears an interlaced knot, and the long
bottom panel is decorated with an interlaced design. The north principal face
bears a continuous panel of scroll work. The east side is decorated with a
continuous panel of interlace design and the west side has an upper panel of
square key pattern and the longer lower panel bears an interlaced design.
This churchyard cross was built into the east wall of the chancel during the
15th century, the head was positioned below the window and the shaft was lower
down, towards the south side of the wall. The church was restored in 1872 and
the cross head and shaft were removed from the wall, reunited and re-erected
in their present position south of the church. The inscription and the
interlace designs on the shaft suggest that this cross dates to the early to
mid tenth century.
The drain with its iron grill and concrete surround to the south of the cross
but within its protective margin are 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: 28446
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Henderson, C, The Cornish Church Guide, (1928)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Pearce, S M, The Kingdom of Dumnonia, (1978)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 2955.03,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 06/16; Pathfinder Series 1347 Source Date: 1989 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