Standing cross 200m south of Trelowthas


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020104

Date first listed: 28-Apr-1948

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Apr-2001


Ordnance survey map of Standing cross 200m south of Trelowthas
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Jan-2019 at 16:21:43.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Probus

National Grid Reference: SW 88553 46671


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 standing cross 200m south of Trelowthas survives very well. Despite some limited and superficial damage, it is virtually intact. The fabric and the regular rectangular shape are unusual, and illustrate well the range of materials and forms used for medieval crosses.


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


The monument includes a medieval cross situated on level ground on top of a ridge south west of Probus. The cross is a rectangular slab of blue elvan, standing 1.39m high above ground level, with a roughly square head. The WSW face appears to be the front, the ESE being slightly rounded. The upper part of the front, WSW, face shows a cross on a base in low relief, formed by cutting back the surrounding stone of the head and neck of the slab, down to a horizontal line 0.47m from its top. The carved cross has roughly equal limbs with flared ends. The base resembles the limbs in shape and proportions. The back, ENE, face has a partly worn but similar cross on the head of the slab, again in low relief, but with no obvious sunken surround, and with a narrow shaft rather than a short base below it. The upper 0.13m of the shaft is in low relief, the remainder being defined by an incised line on either side.

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: 32947

Legacy System: RSM


AM7, (1948)
SW 84 NE 4, JWP, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1968)
TS at RIC library, Truro, Baird, RD and Lady White, Cornish Crosses, (1961)

End of official listing