Churchyard cross in Lamorran churchyard

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015625

Date first listed: 12-Nov-1996

Map

Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross in Lamorran churchyard
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: St. Michael Penkevil

National Grid Reference: SW 87861 41762

Summary

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 in Lamorran churchyard has survived well, and there is no record of it having been moved. It is a good example of a `Latin' style of cross and is unusual in showing signs of transition from an early medieval style to the later Gothic style. It is a rare example of a churchyard cross from the later medieval period, and is carved from Pentewan stone, rather than the more usual granite.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross situated within the churchyard at Lamorran, on the River Fal in south Cornwall. The churchyard cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as an upright head and shaft set on a base, all of Pentewan stone, which itself sits on a low mound. Pentewan stone is an intrusive white elvan from the south coast of Cornwall, which was used for intricate carvings during the medieval period. The head has unenclosed arms, a form called a `Latin' cross, its principal faces orientated north-south. The overall height of the monument is 1.85m. The head measures 0.25m high by 0.36m wide across the side arms, each of which are 0.07m high, and 0.12m thick. The upper limb has been fractured at some time in the past. The side arms are of ovoid section and each arm has a 0.05m triangular projection or cusp on the top and bottom of the arm. The lower limb is round in section and is set on the octagonal section shaft. The shaft measures 1.23m high by 0.23m wide at the base tapering to 0.13m at the top, and is 0.23m thick at the base tapering to 0.12m at the top. On the north face of the shaft, near the top, is a fracture 0.12m long by 0.1m wide and 0.06m deep. The north east, north west, south east and south west sides of the shaft slope out 0.16m above the base to form a moulded foot. The shaft is mounted on a square base; the top of this base is octagonal in shape, with moulded corners sloping out to form the square base. This base measures 0.61m east- west by 0.62m north-south and is 0.27m high. The churchyard cross has had its head removed several times during the 19th century. The head was left lying at the base of the cross for many years before disappearing. It was rediscovered in 1924, by the rector, under the floor of the church and replaced on its shaft. It is now fixed to the shaft by a mortice and tenon joint. By 1955 the upper limb was missing, later replaced by a modern one, now also missing. The churchyard cross with its cusps on its side arms giving it a foliated appearance, is of a late Gothic style and probably dates from the late medieval period, making it a late example of a churchyard cross. The historian Langdon in 1896 believed the cross to be part of the development of crosses towards the late medieval lantern style cross. The two gravestones to the west 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. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 29204

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Henderson, C, The Cornish Church Guide, (1928)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Other
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No.22670.3,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 74/84; Pathfinder Series 1360 Source Date: 1977 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing