Four Hole Cross, 200m north of Lord's Waste Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016286

Date first listed: 13-Dec-1929

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Four Hole Cross, 200m north of Lord's Waste Farm
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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. Neot

National Grid Reference: SX 17155 74960


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 Four Hole Cross has survived well, despite the loss of the upper half of its head, and is a good example of a four holed wheel headed cross. It has more elaborate decoration than is usual for a wayside cross in a remote location, which suggests that it may at some time have been a memorial. Although slightly relocated, it retains its original function as a waymarker on its original route across Bodmin Moor. It has also been used as a boundary marker in the past, marking both the northern boundary of St Neot parish and the boundary of a nearby farm, demonstrating well the major roles of wayside crosses and showing the longevity of many routes still in use.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Four Hole Cross, situated by the side of the A30 in the middle of Bodmin Moor in north Cornwall. The Four Hole Cross is visible as an upright granite shaft with a round or `wheel' head, set in a modern granite boulder base. The overall height of the monument is 2.66m. The head measures 0.86m wide, and was fully pierced by four holes creating an equal limbed cross with widely splayed arms linked by an outer ring. The lower two holes survive complete, but the upper half of the head is missing, fractured at some time in the 18th century. The principal faces are orientated north east-south west. Both principal faces are decorated with a central raised boss; the limbs are plain on the north east face but on the south west face they are each decorated with a triquerta knot. The side limbs extend slightly beyond the ring. The lower limb projects slightly to either side of the edge of the shaft. The shaft measures 2.14m high by 0.73m wide at the base, tapering to 0.47m at the neck, and is 0.22m thick at the base tapering to 0.19m at the neck. The shaft has a bead on all four corners. There is no obvious decoration on the north east face, although the historian Langdon in 1896 did record traces of scroll work decoration on the lower half of the shaft, and an Ordnance Survey bench mark has been incised on this face of the shaft. The south west face bears incised scroll work decoration, and the letters G L W incised deeply onto the shaft. The three letters GLW stand for Great Lords Waste. Both sides of the shaft are decorated with scroll work. The decoration is very worn due to the exposed position of the cross, and the style of decoration suggests that it dates from the 11th century. The shaft is cemented into a large granite boulder, measuring 1.3m north east- south west by 1.65m south east-north west and 0.12m high. The Four Hole Cross is located by the side of the A30, the major ancient and modern route across Bodmin Moor. It was first recorded on a map in 1748, marked on the north side of the road, on the line of the northern boundary of St Neot parish. Later it was moved to the south side of the road, possibly to mark the boundary of Lord's Waste farm. In October 1995 the Four Hole Cross was excavated by Cornwall Archaeological Unit and removed for safe keeping to the County Council Highways Depot, while this section of the A30 was upgraded to a dual carriageway. The excavation revealed that the cross had been set in a concrete filled pit probably earlier this century. Also the base of the shaft had a tenon, implying that originally the cross was set in a base stone. It was replaced in June 1996, in a new granite base, on top of a steep bank by the south side of the A30, in its present position.

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: 29230

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses in East Cornwall, (1996)
Thomas, N, Four Holes Cross, St Neot, (1996)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 07/17; Pathfinder Series 1338 Source Date: 1988 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing