Wayside cross and cross base in St Stephen's churchyard, 6m south of the church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018694

Date first listed: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Wayside cross and cross base in St Stephen's churchyard, 6m south of the church
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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. Stephen-in-Brannel

National Grid Reference: SW 94489 53310


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 medieval wayside cross and cross base in St Stephen's churchyard survive reasonably well. It is a good example of a wheel headed cross, and is now in the churchyard for which it used to mark the way on a church path. The discovery of the cross at the end of the 19th century and its removal, along with the cross base, into the churchyard, 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 and a cross base in St Stephen's churchyard. The wayside cross, which is Listed Grade II, survives as a granite round `wheel' head mounted on a modern granite shaft and base. The head measures 0.46m high by 0.53m wide and is 0.12m thick, its principal faces orientated east-west. Both principal faces bear a relief equal limbed cross with a narrow bead around the outer edge of the head. The cross head is cemented onto a modern shaft which measures 0.96m high by 0.49m wide at the base, tapering to 0.33m at the top and is 0.34m thick at the base, tapering to 0.2m at the top. The shaft is mounted on a rounded granite boulder measuring 0.86m north-south by 0.6m east-west and is 0.3m high. This cross head was found at the end of the 19th century in a field at Treneague Farm, 0.85km north west of the church. By 1896, when the historian Langdon recorded it, the cross had been removed to the churchyard. It probably marked the old church path from Trethosa, 1.25km to the north, to the church at St Stephen. There was also a chapel at Treneague, licenced in 1381, for which the cross may have also acted as a waymarker. The wayside cross base is located 0.48m to the north of this cross. This granite cross base measures 0.96m east-west by 0.74m north-south and is 0.21m high. It is roughly triangular in shape. It has been suggested that the cross base is the original base of the cross from Treneague. The metalled footpath to the north and east of the cross and cross base and the two gravestones to the west, where they fall within the monument'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: 31838

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Consulted July 1997, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 20911,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 85/95; Pathfinder 1353 Source Date: 1983 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing