Cross base 30m south of St Merryn's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019448

Date first listed: 07-Sep-2000


Ordnance survey map of Cross base 30m south of St Merryn's 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. Merryn

National Grid Reference: SW 88638 74113


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 cross base 30m south of St Merryn's Church survives as a rare example of a greenstone cross base. It is also unusual as the socket is set diagonally in the top. The cross base may mark the convergence of two church paths on the south side of the churchyard.


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


The monument includes a medieval wayside cross base situated 30m south of St Merryn's Church in north Cornwall. The cross base survives as a rectangular base of local greenstone set flush with the ground. It measures 0.76m by 0.72m and has a rebate or bead around the top edge. The rectangular socket or mortice is set diagonally in the top. The socket measures 0.34m by 0.24m and is 0.25m deep. The cross base has been fractured on two sides. This cross base was discovered in the 1940s by an American airman, who excavated it before being ordered to rebury it by the churchwarden. The cross was mentioned by the historian, Langdon, in 1896. There is a local legend that the cross was erected in 1422 when the south aisle was added to the church, and that a greenstone cross now at Tresallyn Farm, 1km to the south east, was the cross which originally stood in this base. The gravestone to the north west of the cross base is excluded from the scheduling where it falls within the monument's 2m protective margin, although the ground beneath it 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: 31872

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Langdon, A G, Stone Crosses of North Cornwall, (1992)
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; Explorer 106; Newquay and Padstow Source Date: 1997 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing