Trewane Cross in St Neot churchyard


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016776

Date first listed: 19-May-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Trewane Cross in St Neot churchyard
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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 18604 67840

Reasons for Designation

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone, mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD). Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the scenes of games or recreational activity. Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the 13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base, buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their original location, are considered worthy of protection.

Trewane Cross survives well, although the head is mounted on a modern shaft and base. It is a late example of a cross, these lantern head crosses dating to the later medieval period. It is a rare example of a cross of Cateclewse stone and the sculpture is especially fine. From its ornate style it was possibly originally a churchyard cross. Its discovery and several movements around Cornwall during the 19th century and earlier 20th century to its present reuse as a war memorial, reflect well the changing attitudes to religion and their impact on the local landscape since the medieval period. This is one of five crosses now located in St Neot churchyard, the other four being the subject of a separate scheduling.


This List entry has been amended to add sources for further reading (13/12/2016)

The monument includes a medieval churchyard cross situated to the south of St Neot church on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor. The cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as an upright lantern head of Cateclewse stone mounted on a modern granite shaft and two stepped base, 2.35m in overall height. Cateclewse stone is a greenstone from Trevose on the north Cornish coast which was used for elaborate sculpture in Cornish churches during the medieval period. The head measures 0.82m high by 0.33m wide. The principal faces are orientated east-west, while all four faces of the head are decorated with scenes in relief: the west principal face bears a crucifixion scene with the head of God the Father above the cross; the east principal face bears the figure of a man holding a book and a staff; the north face bears a figure of a man with a crook or possibly a flail and a book; and the south side is decorated with the Virgin and Child. All the figures are set beneath ogee arched canopies. The two male figures may represent a saint and a farmer. The figures are depicted in medieval dress and are skillfully executed. There is a small hole through the head from north to south. This cross head is cemented onto a modern hexagonal shaft of pink granite or Luxulianite, 1.18m high by 0.25m wide. The shaft is cemented onto a two stepped granite base. The upper step measures 0.82m north-south by 0.8m east- west and is 0.2m high. The lower step is constructed of blocks of granite and measures 1.07m square by 0.15m high. On the west face of this step is an inscription which reads: `This ancient cross was erected here to the glory of God and to the memory of the men of St Neot parish who gave their lives for their king and country 1914-1918'. On the west end of the top step are two iron cannon balls, one on either side of the cross shaft. This cross was found in the 1790s at Trewane Manor in the parish of St Kew, near the north coast of Cornwall. Trewane was the home of the Grylls family. Around 1816 the cross was moved to Luxulyan where Gerveys Grylls was vicar, and it was mounted on the Luxulyanite shaft. In 1852 the cross was moved to Helston and in 1866 to Lewarne in the Glynn valley, south east Cornwall. In 1918 the cross was re-erected in its present location in St Neot churchyard as the parish war memorial. The metalled footpath and the gutter to the north of the cross, the metalled footpath to the south, the row of gravestones to the east, and the memorial stone to the west where they fall within the cross's protective margin, are excluded from the scheduling, although 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: 31844

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses in East Cornwall, (1996)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
War Memorials Register, accessed 13/12/2016 from
Consulted July 1997, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 17141,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 06/16; Pathfinder Series 1347 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing