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


Ordnance survey map of Market Cross and cross base immediately south west of St Nun'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: 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 Grade II. 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:

End of official listing