Wayside cross in Holy Trinity Church churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014897

Date first listed: 19-Feb-1996


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross in Holy Trinity Church 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: St. Austell

National Grid Reference: SX 01448 52445


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 Holy Trinity churchyard has survived well and is a good example of the rather uncommon `Latin' cross type. It may have originally marked a boundary between two manors or between the parish of St Austell and the adjoining parish of Luxulyan. Its 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 within Holy Trinity churchyard at St Austell in southern central Cornwall. The wayside cross survives as an upright granite head and shaft set in a modern three stepped base. The cross-head has unenclosed arms, a form called a `Latin' cross, its principal faces orientated north-south. The overall height of the monument is 1.08m. The head measures 0.33m wide across the side arms, each of which are 0.19m high by 0.06m wide and 0.1m thick. The upper limb is 0.1m high, 0.24m wide and is 0.11m thick. The head displays an incised equal limbed cross on both faces. The shaft measures 0.21m wide and is 0.18m thick at the base tapering to 0.1m below the side arms. The shaft is cemented into the modern base. The octagonal three step granite base measures 0.33m high. The top step measures 0.34m east-west by 0.34m north-south and is 0.07m high. The middle step measures 0.54m east-west by 0.54m north-south and is 0.11m high. The lowest step measures 0.79m east-west by 0.79m north-south and is 0.15m high. The south face of these steps bears an inscription which reads `This ancient cross Found in 1879 on the Manor of Treverbyn was erected here 1891'. This wayside cross is located to the east of Holy Trinity church at St Austell. It was found on the Treverbyn Estate in 1879, though there is some dispute over its exact find spot. Treverbyn is 4.5km north east of St Austell. A local historian, Mr Wills, believed that it had been found on the boundary between the two manors of Treverbyn and Tewington. The Reverend Iago stated that it had been found close to the parish boundary between St Austell and Luxulyan, on a direct route between Tywardreath where there was a medieval priory, and the site of an early chapel at Treverbyn. In 1879 it was removed to the churchyard and in 1891 re-erected on a modern base in its present location. 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: 28464

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