Sea Lane Cross, Lelant


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018574

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jan-1999


Ordnance survey map of Sea Lane Cross, Lelant
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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 54225 36611


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.

Sea Lane medieval wayside cross survives well, despite its probable past reuse as a gatepost. It is a good example of a wheel headed cross which is situated close to its original location. The cross continues its original function as a waymarker, both marking a route within the parish to the church and marking a junction on the main route from Lelant to St Ives, demonstrating well the major roles of such wayside crosses.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known as Sea Lane Cross, situated on the top of a hedge at the junction of a minor road, The Saltings, and the A3074 in Lelant. The Sea Lane Cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel' head mounted on a modern granite base, its principal faces orientated north east-south west. The head measures 0.46m wide by 0.4m high and is 0.24m thick. The south west face bears a Latin cross in bold relief, the lower limb extending down onto the top of the shaft. At the centre of the limbs is a small round hole and there is a narrow bead around the outer edge of the head. The top of the north west face has been fractured at some time in the past. This face bears a relief Latin cross with a narrow bead around the outer edge of the head. The shaft measures 0.46m high by 0.32m wide and is 0.29m thick. All four corners of the shaft are chamfered. On the south west face are two holes which suggest that the cross was reused as a gatepost at some time in the past. The shaft is cemented into a large, rectangular block of granite, measuring 0.71m north east-south west by 0.47m north east-south west and is 0.45m high. This cross was recorded by the historian Langdon in 1896 as standing against the hedge close to its present location. Only one principal face was visible. Early in the 20th century the cross was removed from the hedge, mounted on a modern base and erected in its present position. The chamfered angles of the shaft suggest a late medieval date for the cross. It has been suggested that this cross marked a route across the Hayle estuary, as it marks a junction on the main route from Lelant to St Ives with a minor road down to the estuary. The wood and metal house name sign `Woodlands' to the north west of the cross and the street name sign to the south where they fall within the cross's protective margin are 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: 31832

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of West Penwith, (1997)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing