Market Cross and cross base immediately south west of St Nun's Church
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1021003
Date first listed: 10-Sep-1959
Date of most recent amendment: 15-Jul-2003
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
Parish: Grampound with Creed
National Grid Reference: SW 93580 48303
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.
Despite limited damage to the shaft of the cross, and the loss of its head, the Market cross and cross base immediately south west of St Nun's Church survive reasonably well. The unusual separate collar illustrates well the diversity of forms of cross. The cross, being in situ, provides a good example of the varying roles of monuments of this type, forming part of a religious complex with a medieval chapel site, and providing a focus for community and mercantile activity in the centre of a settlement. Below ground deposits associated with it will survive. The association of the cross and base with others in the area enhances our understanding of social organisation within the medieval landscape of this region.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The scheduling includes a 15th century type standing cross known as Market
Cross, and a separate cross base of similar date, situated in the centre
of Grampound on a fairly steep west slope above the upper River Fal. They
are associated with the site of a medieval chapel nearby, and also with a
small group of comparable crosses and cross bases in the area, several of
which form the subject of other schedulings. The cross itself is Listed
Market Cross is considered to stand in its original position. Its name,
together with a location in the centre of the medieval borough of
Grampound, indicate that it was used as a focus for market trading. It has
a shaft with an ornamental collar at its top, which would have been
surmounted by a cross head. There is also a base stone, and a stepped
pedestal supporting the base which together measure approximately 2.5m
across and 3.38m high above ground level. The shaft, collar, and base are
carved from three separate pieces of Pentewan stone, and the steps of the
pedestal are made up of blocks of the same fabric. Pentewan stone is a
cream coloured freestone, a relatively easily worked material, from a
fairly local source on the south coast of central Cornwall.
The cross shaft is octagonal in section and is 2.13m high and up to 0.32m
wide, tapering slightly towards the top. At the bottom of the shaft, its
four corner faces are finished with chamfer stops or mouldings so that its
base is square sectioned, fitting into a square socket in the base stone.
There is evidence of limited damage to the shaft, in the form of a crack
running round it. The separate collar stone is an unusual feature. It is
approximately 0.18m high and up to 0.28m wide, and is octagonal in
section. The main, central band of the collar mirrors the upper shaft in
form, but is ornamented. Each of its sides bear a central decoration, with
a similar floral motif, carved in relief. Above and below this, the collar
has roll moulding (plain moulding, rounded in section), projecting beyond
the line of the shaft.
The base stone of Market Cross measures around 0.74m across, and is 0.42m
high. Its upper surface, around its central cross socket, is octagonal in
plan; below, it has chamfer stops, forming a square base. The sides of
the stone bear traces of dressing tools; the top has been smoothed, and
has a slight hollow on each side, as a result of use for seating.
The pedestal below is octagonal in plan and measures approximately 2.5m
across. It is up to 0.6m high above ground; an old drawing shows that it
has a similar height below ground level. The buried part has vertical
facing of laid stonework, probably surrounding a core of rubble stone and
earth. The visible structure is the coping of the buried walling, and a
smaller platform on top of this with the cross base mounted on its centre,
together forming two steps. The upper step, surrounding the cross base, is
0.6m wide, and the lower 0.3m wide; both rise 0.3m. Each step consists of
a single course of horizontally set dressed stone blocks mostly around
0.6m long and 0.3m-0.4m thick. Small rubble stones and mortar make up the
surface at the rear of the top step, where the roughly shaped backs of the
blocks do not extend to the central cross base. The joints between blocks
are mortared and have iron clamps. As with the base stone of the cross,
the steps have chiselling on their sides, but are worn on top.
The cross base to the north west of Market Cross is pyramidal with a flat
top, and measures approximately 0.6m across and 0.3m high. It is made of
cut and dressed Pentewan stone. The upper surface of the stone has a
central square mortice.
The modern road and roadside surfaces with their revetting stones, the
railings, the bench with associated concrete kerb, and all water and gas
pipes and fittings are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath them 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: 32973
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Blight, J T, Ancient Crosses and other Antiquities in the East of Cornwall, (1858), 63
Langdon, A, Stone Crosses in Mid Cornwall, (1994), 26
Henderson, C, 'Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall' in The Ecclesiastical History of the Four Western Hundreds, (1956), 125
Henderson, C, 'Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall' in The Ecclesiastical History of the Four Western Hundreds, (1956), 126
No further details of source in SMR, Cornwall SMR, (1990)
SW 9248-9348 7/43, Listing document, (1952)
SW 94 NW 16, JGB, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1977)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1880 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1908 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing