Standing cross 300m south east of Trelissick


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020103

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Apr-2001


Ordnance survey map of Standing cross 300m south east of Trelissick
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Feock

National Grid Reference: SW 83975 39303


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

Reasons for Designation

A standing cross is a free standing upright structure, usually of stone, mostly erected during the medieval period (mid 10th to mid 16th centuries AD). Standing crosses served a variety of functions. In churchyards they served as stations for outdoor processions, particularly in the observance of Palm Sunday. Elsewhere, standing crosses were used within settlements as places for preaching, public proclamation and penance, as well as defining rights of sanctuary. Standing crosses were also employed to mark boundaries between parishes, property, or settlements. A few crosses were erected to commemorate battles. Some crosses were linked to particular saints, whose support and protection their presence would have helped to invoke. Crosses in market places may have helped to validate transactions. After the Reformation, some crosses continued in use as foci for municipal or borough ceremonies, for example as places for official proclamations and announcements; some were the scenes of games or recreational activity. Standing crosses were distributed throughout England and are thought to have numbered in excess of 12,000. However, their survival since the Reformation has been variable, being much affected by local conditions, attitudes and religious sentiment. In particular, many cross-heads were destroyed by iconoclasts during the 16th and 17th centuries. Less than 2,000 medieval standing crosses, with or without cross-heads, are now thought to exist. The oldest and most basic form of standing cross is the monolith, a stone shaft often set directly in the ground without a base. The most common form is the stepped cross, in which the shaft is set in a socket stone and raised upon a flight of steps; this type of cross remained current from the 11th to 12th centuries until after the Reformation. Where the cross-head survives it may take a variety of forms, from a lantern-like structure to a crucifix; the more elaborate examples date from the 15th century. Much less common than stepped crosses are spire-shaped crosses, often composed of three or four receding stages with elaborate architectural decoration and/or sculptured figures; the most famous of these include the Eleanor crosses, erected by Edward I at the stopping places of the funeral cortege of his wife, who died in 1290. Also uncommon are the preaching crosses which were built in public places from the 13th century, typically in the cemeteries of religious communities and cathedrals, market places and wide thoroughfares; they include a stepped base, buttresses supporting a vaulted canopy, in turn carrying either a shaft and head or a pinnacled spire. Standing crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval customs, both secular and religious, and to our knowledge of medieval parishes and settlement patterns. All crosses which survive as standing monuments, especially those which stand in or near their original location, are considered worthy of protection.

The cross 300m south east of Trelissick survives well. Despite limited damage, it remains substantially intact. Its function as an ornamental garden feature illustrates well one form of reuse of this monument type.


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


The monument includes a medieval cross, now reused as a garden feature at Trelissick House, situated on a rock-cut platform on a fairly steep east slope above the lower River Fal. The cross is of fairly coarse-grained granite and has a shaft and wheel or round head, with ornamentation in relief. It stands 1.11m high. The cross head measures 0.41m across and 0.19m thick. The shaft is 0.29m-0.32m across and between 0.21m-0.25m thick. The front, ENE, face of the cross has a figure of Christ on the head and upper shaft, in high relief. The figure has slightly raised and bent arms, outurned feet, and a central band, slightly more raised, apparently representing clothing, at the level of the neck of the cross. The back has remains of a cross carved in light relief, having a shaft extending down from the level of its neck for approximately 0.44m, with possible traces of a right arm near the centre of the wheel head. The cross is understood to have been brought from Tredrea, St Erth, around 1844; limited damage to the top and NNW side of the wheel head is considered to have occurred before that move.

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: 32946

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896), 277-278
Later maplet on 1963 OS base, AM7, (1932)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1880 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1907 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
TS at RIC library, Truro, Baird, RD and Lady White, Old Cornish Crosses, (1961)

End of official listing