An early Christian memorial stone at Boskenna


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018570

Date first listed: 15-Jun-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of An early Christian memorial stone at Boskenna
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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. Buryan

National Grid Reference: SW 42252 23667


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

Reasons for Designation

Early Christian memorial stones are inscribed free-standing stones commemorating named individuals and dating to the early medieval period (c.AD 400-1100). The stones are erect, roughly dressed or undressed slabs, bearing incised inscriptions, usually set in one or more vertical lines down one face of the slab, although in four examples the text runs horizontally across the slab. All except two recorded texts are in Latin and, depending on their date, may be inscribed in a script of Romanised capitals or an insular form of lower case lettering called miniscules, or a mixture of the two. Six stones also have inscriptions in an Irish script called ogham. Most inscriptions are simple, bearing a personal name and often stating a family relationship, such as `filii' (son of), to another personal name. Fourteen stones contain elements of the simple inscriptions within a longer, complex inscriptive formula, often including the phrase `hic iacet' (here lies). Additional decoration is found on very few stones and usually comprises a cross within a circle. Early examples, prior to the eighth century AD, may bear an early Christian symbol called a Chi Rho monogram, compounding the first two Greek letters of the name `Christ'. Early Christian memorial stones are largely restricted to areas which retained Celtic traditions during the early medieval period, with at least 139 recorded from Wales. In England, they are almost entirely confined to the south-west peninsula; of the 56 recorded examples, 37 occur in Cornwall, 11 in Devon, a group of 5 in Dorset, and single examples in Somerset, Hampshire and Shropshire. As a very rare and diverse class of monument important for our understanding of the social organisation and the development of literacy and Christianity during the early medieval period, all surviving groundfast examples of early Christian memorial stones are considered worthy of protection.

The early Christian memorial stone at Boskenna has survived reasonably well, despite some damage from its former reuse as a gatepost. Its inscription is clearly incised though is not complete. The inscription itself is of importance from a period generally lacking in such historical references.


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


The monument includes an early Christian memorial stone situated to the west of Boskenna Manor on the south coast of the Penwith peninsula. The early Christian memorial stone, which is Listed Grade II, survives as a granite shaft lying on the ground with the inscription facing upwards. The memorial stone measures 1.53m long by 0.38m wide and is 0.25m thick. The inscription is incised deeply into the stone and is clearly visible; it is probably incomplete. There are three large rectangular holes in this face of the stone, two at the north west end and one at the south east end, which may have removed part of the inscription. These are a result of the later reuse of the stone as a gatepost. The inscription is incised in two lines and has been read as `EVOCA ' and `CA'. It has also been read as `EVOCALI' or `EVOCATI' and `CAT'. These two words are probably personal names. There is also some indistinct decoration or letters at one end of the stone which may be a small alpha-omega symbol. This memorial stone probably dates from between the fifth or sixth centuries and the 11th century. The memorial stone was found at Vellansger, 2km north of Boskenna, in use as a gatepost. By 1907 the stone had been moved to its present location where the historian Henderson recorded it around 1912.

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: 31828

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Okasha, E, Corpus of Early Christian Inscribed Stones of South-west Britain, (1993)
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 28184,
FMW report for CO 797,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 32/42; Pathfinder Series 1368 Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing