Penbeagle Cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017348

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Penbeagle Cross
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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. Ives

National Grid Reference: SW 50781 39882


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 Penbeagle Cross has survived reasonably well. Despite the peripheral damage to the western side of the head it is a good example of a wheel head cross and its simple incised cross motif is unusual. Although slightly re- located it remains as a marker on its original route and junction demonstrating well the major role of wayside crosses in marking important routes. This cross also marks one of several routes in the parish to the church at St Ives showing the differing levels at which wayside crosses operated.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as the Penbeagle Cross, situated at a road junction on the B3306 on the south western edge of St Ives. The Penbeagle Cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel' head mounted in a modern granite base. The monument measures 1.29m high. The head measures 0.34m high by 0.38m wide and is 0.16m thick. Parts of the eastern and upper edges of the head were fractured away prior to its illustration by the historian Langdon in 1896. The south principal face of the head bears an incised Latin cross, 0.37m high and 0.34m across its side arms, the lowermost limb extending onto the upper shaft. The north principal face of the head is plain but the north face of the shaft bears a reversed B, incised when the cross had once been inverted and used as a gatepost and boundary stone by the Bolitho family at some point prior to Langdon's 1896 record. The rectangular section shaft measures 0.81m high, 0.31m wide and tapers in thickness from 0.18m at the base to 0.13m at the top. The Penbeagle Cross is situated beside a junction on the main route west from St Ives around the northern edge of the Penwith peninsula, and on one of the principal routes within the parish to the church at St Ives, at an angle on that route where it meets a lane running south to Penbeagle. Earlier records confirm the presence of the cross at this junction, amid agricultural land until the later 20th century and now at the south west edge of the suburban area of St Ives. The cross was moved 7m north west of its original site during the 1970s after being toppled by a car and before subsequent alterations to the junction that would have involved its minor relocation from its former position. In 1998 the cross was moved 5m west of its former location and re- erected on a modern granite base. The surface of the metalled footpath to the south of the cross where it falls within its protective margin is 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: 24289

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
AM7, AM107 and scheduling maplets for CO 199, 1989, Consulted 1993
in lettr to MPPFW, 8/1993, information from Mr Andrew Langdon, (1993)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing