Wayside cross 290m north west of Basill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017047

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross 290m north west 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 20211 84209


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 290m north west of Basill survives well as 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. Although the cross is not in its original location, it is close to it, and continues to mark its original route, maintaining its original function as a waymarker, demonstrating well the major role of such wayside crosses.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross 290m north west of Basill, and situated on the top of a hedge by a minor road from St Clether to Davidstow. The wayside cross, which is 1.52m high, survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel' head 0.61m wide, the principal faces of which are orientated east-west, each bearing a relief equal limbed cross with slightly expanded ends to the limbs. There is 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 0.45m wide at the neck, and is 0.24m thick at the base tapering to 0.19m at the neck. The cross has a distinct lean to the south. This wayside cross is not considered to be in its original position. It has been suggested that it was placed on top of the hedge when traffic along the road increased. The historian Langdon recorded the cross in this position in 1896. Although it is not in its original location, it is believed to be on its original route marking a way down to a fording point across the River Inney approximately 300m to the east of the cross. The modern road bends to the south and down to a bridge across the river, but the earlier route is still visible as a hollow way across a field marked by another cross which is the subject of a separate scheduling (SM 31856), which gave access across the river to the chapel and holy well at St Clether. This route is part of the ancient route from Davidstow to the north west to Altarnun to the south. Further west along the minor road is a cross roads marked by another cross (SM 30439), which gave access to Trevillians Gate and routes across north western Bodmin Moor. The post and wire fence to the north of the cross is excluded from the scheduling where it impinges on the cross's protective margin, 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: 31857

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses in East Cornwall, (1996)
Consulted July 1997, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 17637,
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