Wayside cross-head in St Sennen's churchyard, 10m south of the church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015061

Date first listed: 28-Jul-1971

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Nov-1996


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross-head in St Sennen's churchyard, 10m south of the church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Sennen

National Grid Reference: SW 35707 25503


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-head in St Sennen's churchyard has survived reasonably well and is a good example of a wheel headed cross-head. In its original site it probably acted as a waymarker on a route within the parish to the church. Its removal to the churchyard in the later 19th century and re-erection there, illustrates 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-head located in St Sennen's churchyard on the Penwith peninsula in the far west of Cornwall. This is one of two crosses now present in the churchyard. The wayside cross-head, which is Listed Grade II, survives as a round, `wheel' head mounted on the east side of the south entrance to the churchyard. The overall height of the monument is 0.56m. The principal faces are orientated east-west. The head measures 0.56m high by 0.69m wide and is 0.2m thick. Both principal faces bear an equal limbed cross with slightly splayed ends to the limbs, formed by four sunken triangles, each with a bead around them. The head is cemented onto the churchyard wall. The historian Langdon recorded that this cross in 1884 was built into a hedge on a footpath close to the Giant's Stone, to the north east of St Sennen's Church. By 1896 it had been moved to the churchyard and mounted on the churchyard wall to the east side of the south entrance. The headstone and kerb surround to the north east of the cross fall within its protective margin and 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 29219

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 32/42; Pathfinder Series 1368 Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing