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


Ordnance survey map of Nancor Cross, 400m north west of Nancor
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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 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.

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 0.06-0.08m wide. 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 Cornwall. 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:

End of official listing