Wayside cross in Camborne churchyard, 10m west of the church

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018491

Date first listed: 28-Jul-1958

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Sep-1998

Map

Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross in Camborne churchyard, 10m west of the church
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Camborne

National Grid Reference: SW 64501 40046

Summary

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.

This medieval wayside cross in Camborne churchyard, 10m west of the church, is a good example of its class and survives well, despite having been reused as a gatepost. The projections at the neck are rare, and the rows of shallow holes are an unusual form of decoration on the shaft. Its reuse as a gatepost and its removal to the churchyard in the early 20th century demonstrates well the changing attitudes to religion and their impact on the local landscape since the medieval period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a medieval wayside cross situated 10m of Camborne parish church. The wayside cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel' head. The overall height of the monument is 1.9m. The head measures 0.3m high by 0.23m wide and is 0.19m thick. Both principal faces, which are orientated east-west, bear an equal limbed cross with slightly expanded ends to the limbs, formed by four rounded, triangular sinkings. At the neck of the cross, immediately below the head there is a rounded projection to either side of the shaft. Also there is a hole near the bottom of the head which goes right through the cross. The shaft measures 1.6m high by 0.53m wide at the base tapering to 0.25m at the top, and is 0.42m thick at the base tapering to 0.21m at the top. On the east face of the shaft is a panel of incised decoration, consisting of lines of shallow holes. On the west face there is a line of three holes down the centre of the shaft. It has been suggested that this wayside cross was originally a boundary stone between the parishes of Gwinear and Gwithian. In 1613 it was called the `Meane Cadoarth' or battle stone. Its name may commemorate a battle at Reskajeage, 5km to the north west. The panel of dots or shallow holes on the shaft is traditionally believed to represent each person killed in the battle. In 1896 when the historian Langdon visited the cross, it was in use as a gatepost on Connor Downs, 4.5km south west of Camborne church. It was considered that the cross probably marked the road between Hayle and Camborne, on an important early route through Cornwall, close to the modern A30 trunk road. The route from Camborne to Hayle is crossed at Connor Downs by minor routes to Gwithian and the north coast, and routes south towards the important market town of Helston. In 1904 the cross was moved into Camborne churchyard and erected in its present location.

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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 31823

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Other
Consulted July 1997, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 26629,
p.8, Thomas, DH, Historical notes and Brief Guide to Camborne Parish Church, (1989)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing