Wayside cross 120m north of Basill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017046

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross 120m north of Basill
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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. Clether

National Grid Reference: SX 20462 84194


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 medieval wayside cross 120m north of Basill survives well as it is a good example of a wheel headed cross, and has projections at its neck, a rare feature, sometimes found on crosses in north Cornwall. It is one of a group of crosses found around the manor of Basill, marking routes to the church and holy well at St Clether. It is believed that the cross is in its original location and, although the route is no longer in use, it maintains its original function as a waymarker marking a fording point on the River Inney. It demonstrates well the major role of wayside crosses.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated in the River Inney valley 120m north of Basill and south west of St Clether. The wayside cross, which is 2.16m high, survives as an upright granite shaft with a round `wheel' head 0.63m wide; the principal faces of the head are orientated east-west and each bear a relief equal limbed cross with slightly expanded ends to the limbs. There are traces of a narrow bead around the outer edges of both principal faces. At the neck are two rounded projections, one to either side of the shaft which measures 0.48m wide at the base tapering to 0.43m wide at the neck, and is 0.2m thick at the base tapering to 0.16m at the neck. The cross has a distinct lean to the south. The base stone is completely hidden from view under a thick layer of turf. This wayside cross is considered to be in its original position. It probably marked a safe fording point of the River Inney 30m to the east of the cross. The cross is located on a low hedgebank on the north side of a disused medieval hollow way, leading up from the river to join the minor road to the west. This road runs south of the hollow way to cross the river by a bridge which has replaced the earlier fording point. The minor road is part of the ancient route from Davidstow to the north west to Altarnun to the south. It also gave access across the river to the chapel and holy well at St Clether. To the west along this road is another wayside cross which is the subject of a separate scheduling (SM 31857), and further west is a cross roads, again marked by a cross (SM 30439), which gave access to Trevillians Gate and routes across north western Bodmin Moor.

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: 31856

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses in East Cornwall, (1996)
Title: 1": 1 mile Ordnance Survey Map; sheet 30; Camelford Source Date: 1889 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 28/38; Pathfinder Series 1326 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing