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Wayside Cross circa 27m south of Great Fursenewth

A Grade II* Listed Building in St. Cleer, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.4799 / 50°28'47"N

Longitude: -4.5027 / 4°30'9"W

OS Eastings: 222531

OS Northings: 67444

OS Grid: SX225674

Mapcode National: GBR ND.M179

Mapcode Global: FRA 17GS.FNG

Entry Name: Wayside Cross circa 27m south of Great Fursenewth

Listing Date: 15 November 1993

Last Amended: 22 April 2014

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1203204

English Heritage Legacy ID: 382270

Location: St. Cleer, Cornwall, PL14

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Cleer

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Cleer

Church of England Diocese: Truro

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Saint Cleer

Summary


A medieval Christian wayside cross.

Description

A medieval Christian wayside cross.

MATERIAL: granite.

PLAN: a long shaft with a roughly square cross section.

DESCRIPTION: the cross is roughly hewn with a decorative wheel-head on a tall shaft set in a modern base. The cross is approximately 1.6m high, with a round head 0.5m in diameter and a shaft on average 0.33m across. Both faces of the head have an equal-limbed cross in relief surrounded by a wide beading. The cross shows signs of damage, with a V-shaped piece at the top missing. There are two in-filled holes on the shaft, relating to its former use as a gatepost.

History

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross, erected during the medieval period, mostly from the C9 to C15 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 which might have a more specifically religious function, including providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions. Wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration but several regional types have been identified. The Cornish wayside crosses form one such group. The commonest type includes a round, or ‘wheel’, head on the faces of which various forms of cross were carved. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ. Less common forms include the ‘Latin’ cross, where the cross-head itself is shaped within the arms of an unenclosed cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low-relief cross on both faces. Over 400 crosses of all types are recorded in Cornwall. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval routeways, settlement patterns and the development of sculptural traditions and their survival is somewhat differential because of periods of religious turbulence during the Reformation when many were subject to damage or partial destruction by iconoclasts.
The simple decoration and rather roughly hewn nature of this wayside cross suggest it is of relatively early medieval date, perhaps C12 or C13, although possibly earlier. The cross was found at Fursnewth in St Cleer in the early C20 in use as a prop to a mowhay. The presence of iron fittings suggested that it had previously been used as a gatepost. At the time, it was bought by a local solicitor and antiquarian who placed the cross on a stone base and set it within the grounds of his house (Pendean House, Liskeard), to act as a garden feature. In 2011 the cross was included in Cornwall Council's Monument Management Scheme. The stone, which was showing signs of cracking and damage caused by the iron fixings, was repaired and moved to a roadside location close to its original location in Fursnewth. The C20 base was left in the grounds of Pendean House and the cross was set on a new granite base. Some records refer to the cross as a preaching stone.

Reasons for Listing

The Wayside Cross circa 27m south of Great Fursenewth is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: it contributes significantly to our understanding of the development of medieval religious beliefs, route ways and settlement patterns both on a regional and national scale;
* Artistic interest: it makes an important contribution to our understanding the development of sculptural traditions at this time; the simple decoration and rather roughly hewn nature of the wayside cross suggest it is of relatively early date.
* Group value: the vast majority of designated wayside crosses are located in Cornwall, and this cross forms part of this nationally important group.

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