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HER Number:106243
Name:SANCREED - Early Medieval cross


A C10 carved churchyard cross, the head and shaft having been re-united in 1894.

Grid Reference:SW 4202 2934
Parish:Sancreed, Penwith, Cornwall
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Protected Status

  • Conservation Area: SANCREED CHURCHTOWN

Other References/Statuses

  • OS No. (OS Quarter-sheet and OS No.): SW42NW 18
  • Primary Record No. (1985-2009): 106243
  • SMR No. (OS Quarter-sheet and SMR No.): SW42NW 40

Monument Type(s):

  • CROSS (Early Medieval - 410 AD to 1065 AD)

Full description

The shaft of this cross was found in 1881, built into the east wall of the church. The head had for many years been on the western churchyard hedge (b5). The inscription was found by Langdon when digging to clear the ornament. The head and shaft were re-united and erected on a rough granite base in 1894 (b1, b4). On the front of the cross head is a figure of Christ in relief, two interlaced strands and a central boss. Both back and front of the shaft are covered with course double-strand interlacing. The lower part of the design on the back is carelessly executed (b2). On one side is a key pattern and on the other a long, serpentine, interlacing 'Jellinge Beast '. Below the interlaced panel on the front is an inscription in two lines: 'RUNHO'. There are possibly some other letters at the top of the shaft (b1). The 'Jellinge Beast' suggests a tenth century date for the cross (b2). The inscription 'RUNHO' is presumably an abbreviation for Runhol, the name seen on the very similar Lanherne Cross. Runhol was presumably the artist responsible for both crosses (b1, b2, b3).
The monument is situated on the right-hand side of the south porch, one of five crosses now present in Sancreed churchyard. The churchyard cross, which is Listed Grade II*, is an upright granite shaft with a round wheel-head set on a modern granite base. The overall height of the monument is 1.94m, the head measures 0.49m high by 0.52m wide and is 0.16m thick. The principal faces are orientated north-south. Both faces are decorated with an equal limbed cross with widely splayed arms linked by a recessed area between the limbs. The edges of the limbs are outlined with a single bead. The south face bears a figure of Christ in relief, with outstretched arms, and a bead or halo around its head. The figure wears a tunic and has a band around the waist; the legs extend on to the top of the shaft and have out turned feet. The north face bears a central circular boss with an interlaced knot on each limb; the knots are linked together around the central boss. The shaft measures 1.39m high by 0.32m wide at the base tapering slightly to 0.29m at the top and is 0.18m thick. There is a fracture across the shaft 0.2m below the head, which has been repaired with cement. There is probably a section of shaft missing here as the lower shaft is slightly wider and thicker than the upper shaft. The shaft has a narrow bead on all four corners and all four faces are decorated. The south principle face is divided into three panels: the short upper panel has been defaced, the middle panel bears interlaced knots, and the lower panel bears a short inscription in two horizontal lines. This inscription is incised in an early medieval form of script derived from Roman style capitals and reads 'RUNHO'. This name is considered to be the signature of the sculptor. There is another similar cross, from the West Penwith area, now at Lanherne on the north coast of Cornwall, which bears the name Runhol. This is believed to be an Anglo-Saxon name and it is thought that the sculptor came from the Bodmin/East Cornwall area as the decoration on the back of this cross at Sancreed is very similar to that on the churchyard cross at Cardinham, north of Bodmin. The north face bears a single long panel with pairs of interlaced knots. The west side bears a long panel of diagonal key pattern, and the east side is decorated with a long panel containing a serpentine figure with its body and tail formed from interlace work. The decoration on the shaft is not easily visible as it is well worn and extensively covered in lichen. The modern rectangular granite base measures 0.67m east-west by 0.4m north-south and is 0.6m high above ground level. The shaft of this churchyard cross was discovered by the vicar, Rev Basset Rogers, during restoration of the church in 1881, built into the east wall of the church. The head had been located on the western churchyard wall for many years. The vicar had the shaft removed form the church wall, and the head cemented into the shaft. The cross was re-erected in the churchyard against the hedge by the entrance to the vicarage. The historian Langdon visited the cross in 1894 and had the cross taken down so that he could record the decoration on the face against the hedge. He then persuaded the vicar to re-erect the cross on a modern base in the churchyard in its present position, in June 1894. The inscription and the interlace decoration combine to suggest that this cross dates to the tenth century. The monument was included in the Schedule on 27/10/1967 and the scheduling was affirmed on 12/11/1996.

Site history:
1: 1960. OS
2: 1967. SAUNDERS/ DOE
3: 1980. SHEPPARD / DOE
4: 1982. SHEPPARD / DOE

<1> Langdon, AG, 1896, Old Cornish Crosses, 362-365 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3820.

<2> Hencken, HO, 1932, The Archaeology of Cornwall and Scilly, 270, 276-277, FIG 51 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3489.

<3> Macalister, RAS, 1945, Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum, VOL 2, 186 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3886.

<4> Page, W (Editor), 1906, Victoria History of the County of Cornwall, VOL I, 420, PL IV, FIG 37 (Bibliographic reference). SCO4068.

<5> Blight, JT, 1856, Ancient Crosses and Other Antiquities in the West of Cornwall, 21 (Bibliographic reference). SCO2863.

<6> Russell, V, 1971, West Penwith Survey, 89 (Bibliographic reference). SCO4314.

<7> Baird, Major RD, & Lady White, 1961, Cornish Crosses, 780-781 (Unpublished document). SCO2767.

<8> STUNA, J, 1990, UNKNOWN TITLE, VOL 18, PT 1, 37 (Unedited Source). SCO8954.

<9> UNKNOWN, 1---, UNKNOWN TITLE, VOL X, 49-50, 56, 84-86, 92 (Unedited Source). SCO5350.

<10> Dexter, TFQ & H, 1938, Cornish Crosses, Christian and Pagan, 223 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3215.

<11> LANGDON, AG & ALLEN, JR, 1985, UNKNOWN TITLE, 50 (Unedited Source). SCO8780.

<12> MACALISTER, RAS, 1929, UNKNOWN TITLE, 188 (Unedited Source). SCO7150.

<13> UNKNOWN, 1888, UNKNOWN TITLE, 374 (Unedited Source). SCO6477.

<14> Langdon, A, 1997, Stone Crosses in West Penwith, 54, NO 81 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3819.

Sources / Further Reading

[1]SCO3820 - Bibliographic reference: Langdon, AG. 1896. Old Cornish Crosses. 362-365.
[2]SCO3489 - Bibliographic reference: Hencken, HO. 1932. The Archaeology of Cornwall and Scilly. 270, 276-277, FIG 51.
[3]SCO3886 - Bibliographic reference: Macalister, RAS. 1945. Corpus Inscriptionum Insularum Celticarum. VOL 2, 186.
[4]SCO4068 - Bibliographic reference: Page, W (Editor). 1906. Victoria History of the County of Cornwall. Page, W. VOL I, 420, PL IV, FIG 37.
[5]SCO2863 - Bibliographic reference: Blight, JT. 1856. Ancient Crosses and Other Antiquities in the West of Cornwall. 21.
[6]SCO4314 - Bibliographic reference: Russell, V. 1971. West Penwith Survey. 89.
[7]SCO2767 - Unpublished document: Baird, Major RD, & Lady White. 1961. Cornish Crosses. MS At RIC. 780-781.
[8]SCO8954 - Unedited Source: STUNA, J. 1990. UNKNOWN TITLE. JRIC. VOL 18, PT 1, 37.
[9]SCO5350 - Unedited Source: UNKNOWN. 1---. UNKNOWN TITLE. JRIC. VOL X, 49-50, 56, 84-86, 92.
[10]SCO3215 - Bibliographic reference: Dexter, TFQ & H. 1938. Cornish Crosses, Christian and Pagan. 223.
[13]SCO6477 - Unedited Source: UNKNOWN. 1888. UNKNOWN TITLE. JBAA. 374.
[14]SCO3819 - Bibliographic reference: Langdon, A. 1997. Stone Crosses in West Penwith. 54, NO 81.

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Related records: none recorded


No image caption available  © Cornwall Council

No image caption available © Cornwall Council