Wayside cross 660m north of Basil Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018003

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Mar-1998


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross 660m north of Basil Farm
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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 19517 84942


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 wayside cross 660m north of Basil Farm has survived reasonably well. 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. Uniquely it is the only known example of a cross made from slate in Cornwall. It is one of a group of crosses found around the manor of Basil, marking routes to the church and holy well at St Clether. Its reuse as building stone and re-erection in the 19th century, probably close to its original location, demonstrates well the changing attitudes to religion and their impact on the local landscape since the medieval period.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated beside the River Inney to the north of Basil Farm. The wayside cross survives as an upright shaft with a round, `wheel' head. The cross is unusually carved from slate, and is the only known example of a slate cross in Cornwall. The overall height of the monument is 1.73m. The principal faces are orientated north east-south west. The head is 0.51m wide, and the north east face is decorated with a relief equal limbed cross, the upper limb having been eroded away. The south west face is plain. At the neck are two rounded projections, one on either side of the shaft. The shaft measures 0.41m wide at the base, tapering to 0.35m at the neck, and is 0.16m thick. This wayside cross which is Listed Grade II, is located on a level area of land close to the River Inney. It was erected in this position in 1893 by the then landowner, Mr. Venning of Basil. Prior to its re-erection, the cross had been built into a rough stone wall on the river bank, close to Tarret Bridge. It is believed that the cross is probably close to its original location, and that it marked the route to St Clether Church via the holy well and chapel. It may also have marked a safe fording place across the River Inney.

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: 30440

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses in East Cornwall, (1996)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 08/18: Pathfinder Series 1325 Source Date: 1986 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing