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
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.
The cross 80m east of St Barbara's Church is a good example of a medieval
wayside cross with a stepped base. It is believed to stand in its original
position, and limited development in the area immediately surrounding the
cross suggests that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's
construction and use in this location are likely to survive intact. While the
greater part of the cross has survived from medieval times, its subsequent use
as a sundial illustrates its continued function as a public monument and
The monument includes a standing stone cross, situated in front of the lych
gate to the east of the church at Ashton under Hill. The cross, which is
medieval in date, takes the form of a stepped base, socket-stone and shaft,
surmounted by a post-medieval sundial. The cross is Listed Grade II.
The cross base is formed of three steps and is square in plan, 0.9m high and
with a width at the base of 3m. The socket stone is also square in plan
with sides of 0.87m, and is 0.85m high with edges chamfered over stops. The
shaft has a width of 0.3m at its square base, and its angles are chamfered
from stops at the base to an octagonal plan. The shaft tapers slightly to a
height of c.2m, and has a shield on its east face. The monument dates to the
14th or 15th century. The sundial which has replaced the cross head is formed
of a single sandstone block, which is triangular in plan and has gnomons on
its two shorter faces.
The paved surface to the west of the cross is excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath it is included.
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.