Wayside cross-head in Phillack churchyard, south west of the church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016154

Date first listed: 24-Sep-1997


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross-head in Phillack churchyard, south west 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: Hayle

National Grid Reference: SW 56525 38410


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 has survived well and is a good example of a `wheel' headed cross. Its re-erection in the churchyard at Phillack illustrates well the changing attitudes to religion and their impact on the local landscape since the Reformation period.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross-head situated to the south west of the church in Phillack churchyard on the north coast of west Cornwall. The wayside cross-head survives as a round, `wheel' head of granite, its upper shaft visible at the neck, but the lower 0.4m of the shaft buried in the ground. The overall height of the monument above ground is 0.4m. The principle faces are orientated north east-south west. The head measures 0.33m wide and is 0.27m thick. The north east face bears a relief equal limbed cross with splayed ends to the limbs; the south east side of the head is fractured, truncating the side limb on this side. The south west face is plain. In 1981 this cross was leaning against the church tower. By October 1984 it was buried up to its neck in soil, in its present location. The height of the cross before being put into the ground was 0.80m; now only the upper 0.4m is visible. The granite steps to the north west of the cross and the granite kerbed and cobbled surface of the footpath to the north east, where they fall within the cross's protective margin, are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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: 30418

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing