Wayside cross in St Gerran's churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015072

Date first listed: 12-Nov-1996


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross in St Gerran's 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: Gerrans

National Grid Reference: SW 87267 35167


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 St Gerran's churchyard has survived well and is a good example of a wheel headed cross. It probably marked a nearby church path, and is the only surviving cross in the Roseland peninsula. Its reuse as a coping stone on the churchyard wall and its subsequent re-erection on a modern base in the churchyard demonstrates 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 wayside cross situated to the south of St Gerran's Church on the Roseland peninsula on the south coast of Cornwall. The wayside cross survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel' head mounted on a modern granite base. The overall height of the monument is 2.54m. The principal faces are orientated east-west. The head measures 0.58m high by 0.6m wide and is 0.18m thick. Both principal faces bear an equal limbed cross in low relief. The shaft measures 1.52m high by 0.37m wide at the base tapering to 0.3m at the top and is 0.22m thick. The shaft is cemented into a large, rectangular block of granite measuring 0.62m north-south by 1.09m east-west, and 0.44m high. This wayside cross is located to the south of St Gerran's Church, close to the south porch of the church. It has been suggested that the cross was removed from a nearby church path, and reused as a coping stone on the churchyard wall. Around 1850 it was removed from the wall and re-erected in the churchyard on a modern granite base in its present location. The gravel surface of the footpath passing to the north of the cross, the slate edged flower beds to the south and west, and the granite steps to the west are excluded from the scheduling, where they fall within its protective margin, but the ground beneath is included.

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: 29202

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; SW 83; Pathfinder Series 1366 Source Date: 1984 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing