Trevalsa Cross 350m north west of Trerice


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016290

Date first listed: 06-Apr-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Trevalsa Cross 350m north west of Trerice
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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. Allen

National Grid Reference: SW 81700 51842


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.

This wayside cross has survived reasonably well despite some damage from its former use as a gatepost. It is a good example of a wheel headed cross; its broad central raised band and the beading along the shaft are unusual while projections on the sides of the neck are rare outside north Cornwall. Its former secular reuse as a gatepost and its subsequent re-erection show the changing attitudes to such monuments after the religious upheavals of the Reformation. Its re-erection as a waymarker, close to its site of earlier reuse, on a route within the parish to the church at St Allen and to an important regional throughfare, demonstrates well the major role and the differing uses for wayside crosses.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Trevalsa Cross, situated at a minor junction east of Zelah in western Cornwall. This wayside cross survives with a round `wheel' head on an upright granite shaft set in a modern granite base. The overall height of the monument is 1.1m. The head measures 0.46m high by 0.45m wide and 0.18m thick. The north west and south east principal faces of the cross each bear a relief equal limbed cross, the limbs meeting a narrow peripheral bead around the head. The shaft measures 0.68m high by 0.24m wide and 0.19m thick. Immediately below the head on the north west edge, a rounded projection extends 0.08m beyond the edge of the shaft; an equivalent projection on the opposite side of the neck has been removed. The shaft is cemented into a modern granite base set flush with the ground. This base measures 1.14m south west-north east by 1.05m north west-south east. The Trevalsa Cross was recorded in 1896 by the historian Langdon, when it was being used as a gatepost in a nearby meadow. This wayside cross is situated in the north west angle of the junction of three minor roads linking the north western parts of the parish with the church at St Allen. The roads also provide a link within the parish to the main route throuth western Cornwall, now the A30T, which passes through the nearby village of Zelah. This latter function has resulted, since 1985, in the fracture face being used by the County Highways Department as the surface for a painted signpost marked with arrows indicating the directions to Zelah and the A30. This pratice has now ceased. The cross is Listed Grade II. The metalled surface of the modern road passing to the south east of the cross and the culvert to the north west are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath 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.


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

Legacy System number: 24297

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 85/95; Pathfinder 1353 Source Date: 1983 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing