Fentongollan Cross, 620m north west of St Michael Penkevil Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016285

Date first listed: 08-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Fentongollan Cross, 620m north west of St Michael Penkevil 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: St. Michael Penkevil

National Grid Reference: SW 85554 42731


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.

The Fentongollan Cross has survived reasonably well and is a good example of the rather uncommon `Latin' cross type. Although it may not be in its original position, it fulfills its original function as a waymarker. Its re-erection in the mid-19th century illustrates well the changing attitudes to religion and their impact on the local landscape since the medieval period.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross-head mounted on an architectural fragment set into a cross base, situated by the road side to the north west of St Michael Penkevil Church, in southern central Cornwall. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as an upright granite head set on top of an upright granite window mullion. The head has unenclosed arms, a form called a `Latin' cross, its principal faces orientated east-west. The head measures 0.39m high, and is 0.45m wide across the side arms, each of which are 0.13m high by 0.15m wide. The upper limb measures 0.23m high by 0.19m wide at the base, tapering slightly to 0.16m at the top. The upper part of the upper limb on the west face has been fractured. These three upper limbs have chamfered angles, so are octagonal in section. At the base of the upper limb on the west face is a lead filled hole, possibly the result of a past reuse of the cross as a gatepost. The cross head has been fractured at the base of the side arms, and is mounted on an architectural fragment by a lead filled joint. This architectural fragment is a section of a moulded granite window mullion which is cemented into a large rectangular granite base stone which has rounded corners. The base measures 0.7m north-south by 0.6m east- west and is 0.29m high. The rounded socket measures 0.3m in diameter. The Fentongollan Cross is located by the roadside on the minor route between St Michael Penkevil and Tresillian. The cross marks a junction on this road with a lane leading to a ferry crossing of the Tresillian River to Malpas and Truro. Tresillian is also on the main route through southern Cornwall, linking Truro to routes to the north and east. It has been recorded that the Fentongollan Cross was erected in its present location in the 1850s by the Clerk of Works at Tregothnan Estate. The antiquarian, Blight, illustrated the cross in 1872, and the local historian, Langdon, described it in 1896.

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: 29229

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 22627,
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No.22627,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 74/84; Pathfinder Series 1360 Source Date: 1977 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing