Churchyard cross in St Ia's churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016158

Date first listed: 24-Oct-1950

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Mar-2000


Ordnance survey map of Churchyard cross in St Ia's churchyard
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1016158 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 19:52:16.


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

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: St. Ives

National Grid Reference: SW 51824 40520


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 St Ia's churchyard has survived well and remains in its original location in the churchyard, thus maintaining its original function as a churchyard cross. It is a good example of an elaborately decorated lantern cross, a rare type of churchyard cross in Cornwall. Its deliberate burial at the time of the Reformation and its re-erection in the 19th century show well the changing attitudes to religion since the Reformation and their impact on the local landscape.


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


The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross situated in the churchyard of St Ia's church in St Ives on the Penwith peninsula in the far west of Cornwall. The churchyard cross is visible as an upright flattened octagonal granite shaft with a rectangular lantern head mounted on a three stepped modern granite base. The monument measures approximately 3m in overall height. The principal faces are orientated east-west. All four faces of the head are decorated with scenes in relief. The west principal face bears a crucifixion scene with the head of God the Father above the cross. There is a small shield on either side of the head of God. The east principal face is decorated with the Virgin and Child, flanked by a figure to either side, possibly representing angels. Again, two shields flank the Virgin's head. The south face bears a figure of a bishop, probably St Uny, and the north face bears the figure of St Ia. The top of the head is decorated with `battlements', and the corners of the head are beaded, forming `turrets' at the top. The octagonal section shaft widens at the top to form a collar just below the head. The shaft is mounted in a three stepped base. The top two steps are octagonal in shape; the bottom step is rectangular and measures 1.48m north-south by 1.16m east-west. In 1869 the historian Langdon recorded that this cross was found buried in the churchyard in 1832. It is considered that this cross is probably the original churchyard cross that was thrown down and buried at the Reformation, and is possibly contemporary with the church which was completed in 1434. The cross was re-erected in 1852. The drains to the north east and north west, the architectual fragements and floor tiles, the granite paved footpath to the south, and the iron boot scraper to the east of the cross are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features 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: 30409

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Consulted 1996, AM7 for scheduled monument CO 322,
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No.29921,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW33/43; Pathfinder Series 1364 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing