Nancor Cross, 400m north west of Nancor
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1016284
Date first listed: 15-Mar-1974
Date of most recent amendment: 08-Dec-1997
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
Parish: Grampound with Creed
National Grid Reference: SW 94466 48397
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 head and remnant upper shaft of this medieval wayside cross have survived well and uniquely combine various design elements known from other Cornish crosses. The location of its discovery and re-erection by a major early east-west route through Cornwall demonstrates well the major role of wayside crosses and the longevity of many routes still in use. Its distinctive form places this cross among the scarce late medieval wayside crosses, near the end of the tradition which produced this class of monument. This cross also forms an integral part of an unusual grouping of later medieval crosses in this area; the evidence naming the rector responsible for the erection of this group, including this monument, is rare.
The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Nancor Cross,
situated to the east of Grampound at a minor junction on a major early and
modern route linking the main market towns across southern Cornwall.
The wayside cross survives with a medieval upright cross head on a modern
shaft and set in a modern two stepped granite base. The cross stands 1.77m
high above its base. The cross head has unenclosed arms, a form called a
`Latin' cross, with its principal faces facing east and west. The upper limb
rises 0.21m above the side limbs, which measure 0.36m across. Both the side
and upper limbs have a 0.06m wide chamfer along their sides. The west face of
the head bears a very worn relief figure of Christ with outstretched arms,
measuring 0.21m high by 0.19m wide. Immediately below the side limbs, the
remnant upper end of the medieval shaft is of octagonal section with facets
This cross was discovered and is now re-erected beside the southernmost of the
main east-west routes through Cornwall, linking the important early market
towns of St Austell with Grampound and Truro. The style of this cross's head
denotes a later medieval date, during the 15th century, towards the end of the
medieval cross tradition. It forms one of a group of 15th century crosses
surviving in this area and which are considered to have been erected by
Reginald Mertherderwa, the Rector of Creed from AD 1423 to 1447, whose will
also directed stone crosses to be erected on routes to Camborne church in west
The modern retaining wall immediately to the west of the cross 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: 24306
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Henderson, C, The Cornish Church Guide, (1928)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Preston-Jones, A, The Restoration of the Nancor Cross, (1996)
consulted 1994, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 22939,
consulted 1994, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 22939.01,
Cornwall County Surveyor, 1:2500 Plan of the revised road layout and new location of cross, (1994)
English Heritage core-data text record for CO 837,
Mentions re-siting of the cross, Sheppard, P.A., AM 107 FMW report on CO 837, (1985)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 94/SX 04; Mevagissey and Tregony Source Date: 1984 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing