Medieval wayside cross base, 10m south of Gunwalloe church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015627

Date first listed: 12-Nov-1996


Ordnance survey map of Medieval wayside cross base, 10m south of Gunwalloe 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: Gunwalloe

National Grid Reference: SW 66029 20537


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 base in Gunwalloe churchyard has survived well, with no record of its having been moved. It is a good example of a medieval wayside cross base, and probably originally held a cross which marked the route to the church from the beach to the south of the churchyard.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross base situated to the south of Gunwalloe church on the Lizard peninsula in south west Cornwall. The cross base is visible as a rectangular block of granite, measuring 0.68m north west-south east by 0.74m north east-south west, and 0.31m deep. In the centre of the base is a rectangular socket, measuring 0.38m north west-south east by 0.25m north east by south west and is 0.23m deep, cut to receive the cross-shaft. The cross base is groundfast; the north east side is levelled into the ground and the base is positioned on top of a low wall, by the side of the footpath through the churchyard. This cross base was mentioned in 1875 by the Rev Cummings, and the historian Langdon also recorded it in 1896. It is located close to the churchyard boundary wall, where there were originally steps down to the beach below the church. The headstone to the north of the cross base falls within its protective margin and is 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: 29222

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Consulted 1995, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 28037.5,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 52/62; Pathfinder Series 1369 Source Date: 1983 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing