Wayside cross in St Nectan's chapel yard
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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This copy shows the entry on 24-Oct-2019 at 06:22:46.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
- St. Winnow
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 12846 59977
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
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 St Nectran's chapel yard has survived substantially intact despite the fracture across the shaft. It is a good example of a wheel- headed cross. Its removal to the chapel yard and re-erection there in the early 20th century illustrate well the changing attitudes to religion which have prevailed since the medieval period and their impact on the local landscape.
The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated to the south east of
the church in St Nectan's chapel yard, also known as St Nighton's churchyard,
in south east Cornwall.
The wayside cross survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel'
head set on a modern rectangular base. The overall height of the monument is
1.34m. The principal faces are orientated north-south. The granite head
measures 0.54m in diameter by 0.19m thick. Both principal faces bear a relief
equal limbed cross: that on the south face has more widely splayed ends to
the limbs than that on the north face. The cross on the north face is also
inclined to the left. A narrow bead 0.06m wide runs around the edge of each
face. The rectangular-section shaft measures 0.58m high by 0.26m wide and
0.18m thick. Each of the four corners of the shaft has a narrow bead. There
is a fracture across the shaft 0.08m above the base. The modern granite base
measures 0.99m east-west by 0.77m north-south and is 0.2m high.
This wayside cross is of red granite. It was found in 1903, at Higher Coombe
0.5km south east of St Nectan's chapel yard. It has been suggested that its
original site is Ethy Cross approximately 2km to the south of St Nectan's
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:
- Legacy System:
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 26970,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 05/15; St Austell and Fowey Source Date: 1980 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