Standing stone in the churchyard of the parish church of Mabe, 10m south west of the church

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016159

Date first listed: 24-Sep-1997

Map

Ordnance survey map of Standing stone in the churchyard of the parish church of Mabe, 10m south west of the church
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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: Mabe

National Grid Reference: SW 75733 32462

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Standing stones are prehistoric ritual or ceremonial monuments with dates ranging from the Late Neolithic to the end of the Bronze Age for the few excavated examples. They comprise single or paired upright orthostatic slabs, ranging from under lm to over 6m high where still erect. They are often conspicuously sited and close to other contemporary monument classes. They can be accompanied by various features: many occur in or on the edge of round barrows, and where excavated, associated subsurface features have included stone cists, stone settings, and various pits and hollows filled in with earth containing human bone, cremations, charcoal, flints, pots and pot sherds. Similar deposits have been found in excavated sockets for standing stones, which range considerably in depth. Several standing stones also bear cup and ring marks. Standing stones may have functioned as markers for routeways, territories, graves, or meeting points, but their accompanying features show they also bore a ritual function and that they form one of several ritual monument classes of their period that often contain a deposit of cremation and domestic debris as an integral component. No national survey of standing stones has been undertaken, and estimates range from 50 to 250 extant examples, widely distributed throughout England but with concentrations in Cornwall, the North Yorkshire Moors, Cumbria, Derbyshire and the Cotswolds. Standing stones are important as nationally rare monuments, with a high longevity and demonstrating the diversity of ritual practices in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age. Consequently all undisturbed standing stones and those which represent the main range of types and locations would normally be considered to be of national importance.

This standing stone in Mabe churchyard is a rare example of a `Christianised' standing stone, a prehistoric standing stone being brought into the orbit of Christianity by the addition of an incised cross at some time during the medieval period. It is also a good example of the continuity of use of Mabe churchyard as a ceremonial and burial place, from the pre-Christian era through to the present day.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a prehistoric standing stone with a medieval cross incised on it, situated in the churchyard at Mabe in west Cornwall. The stone, which is listed Grade II, is 1.85m high and 0.66m wide at the base tapering to 0.35m at the top. The principal faces are orientated north-south, and on the top of the north face is a small incised `Latin' cross, probably added at sometime during the medieval period. On the east face the granite has naturally weathered along linear cracks, which has given the misleading impression that there is a further inscription or incised ornament on this stone. The standing stone is set in a low mound and is considered to be in its original location. The early churchyard at Mabe was of oval shape and may originally have started as a pre-Norman cemetery or `lan'. It now contains a medieval church, medieval wayside cross (the subject of a separate scheduling - SM 30410) and this standing stone. The standing stone was probably too difficult to move and so a cross was added to it to make it more acceptable to the later Christian use of the site. The metalled surface of the footpath to the north of the stone and the headstones to the east and south, where they fall within the stone'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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 30411

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Thomas, C, And Shall These Mute Stones Speak?, (1994)
Other
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 18575,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 83; Pathfinder Series 1366 Source Date: 1984 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing