Lantern cross and grave slab immediately south of St Bartholomew's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019677

Date first listed: 07-Sep-2000


Ordnance survey map of Lantern cross and grave slab immediately south of St Bartholomew'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: Lostwithiel

National Grid Reference: SX 10431 59784, SX 10450 59784


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 lantern cross immediately south of St Bartholomew's Church survives well as a good example of its class with the ornately carved scenes clearly visible on each face. The removal of this cross from a garden and re-erection in the churchyard in the 19th century demonstrates well the changing attitudes to religion and their impact on the local landscape since the medieval period. The grave slab is a rare survival which demonstrates an aspect of medieval burial practice.


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


The monument, which lies within two separate areas of protection, includes a medieval lantern cross and a medieval grave slab, both situated to the south of St Bartholomew's Church at Lostwithiel in southern mid-Cornwall. The cross survives as a rectangular cross-head (the rectangular shape resembling that of a lantern), mounted on a modern octagonal shaft and stepped base. The height of the cross and shaft is 1.73m. The cross and shaft are carved from Pentewan stone, an intrusive white elvan from quarries around Pentewan on the south coast of Cornwall, used in the medieval period for the carving of crosses, fonts and the decoration of local churches. The cross head measures 0.79m high by 0.35m wide and is 0.19m thick. The principal faces are orientated north-south, each of which is decorated with a figure in relief beneath an arched canopy. The south face displays a crucifixion scene and the north the Virgin and child. The east and west faces each bear single figures, possibly saints or bishops. These scenes are set below an ornate, gabled roof. The head is set on a modern octagonal shaft, the foot of which has chamfered stops, forming a square. The shaft is mounted on a three stepped base. The top step is of Pentewan stone, and measures 0.86m high by 0.55m square. The sides are decorated with ogee arches in relief, the southern example bearing an inscription to Frances Margery Hext, who had the cross restored. The top of this step slopes down from the shaft. The middle step is also of Pentewan stone, with a sloping top. The bottom step is a square of granite and measures 0.88m by 0.1m high. It is considered that this cross may be part of the original churchyard cross, broken up at the Reformation. It was found in a private garden and erected in the churchyard on a modern shaft and base by Frances Hext in 1882. This elaborately carved cross head is a late example of a churchyard cross, and is considered to date to the 14th century. The grave slab survives as a tapered, rectangular block of granite set upright and cemented into a modern granite base. The stone measures 1.26m high, 0.45m wide at the top, tapering to 0.32m at the base and is 0.17m thick. The principal faces are orientated north-south. The north face is plain but the south face bears relief decoration including a circle with three small circular bosses at its top and bottom. A further boss is set above the circle and there is a long limb extending down the slab from the base of the circle. The granite base measures 0.58m east-west by 0.34m north-south and is 0.15m high. The south face of the base bears an inscription stating that the grave slab was found near this spot and was erected by the Lostwithiel Old Cornwall Society. This grave slab would originally have been the lid for a medieval grave belonging to a wealthy or important person, possibly a priest. The chest tomb to the south west of the cross and the surface of the concrete footpath to the south and west of the grave slab are excluded from the scheduling where they fall within the monument's 2m protective margin, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 31874

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994)
Consulted July 1999, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 26965,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; Explorer 107; St Austell and Liskeard Source Date: 1997 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; Explorer 107; St Austell and Liskeard Source Date: 1997 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing