Recently Discovered Crosses - Anonymous, 1898


Since the publication, in 1896, of Mr. Arthur G. Langdon's work on 'Old Cornish Crosses,' greater interest has been developed in Cornwall respecting these relics of bygone ages, and 'finds' are now recorded which previously would in most cases have passed unnoticed. The consequence is that at any rate four crosses can be added to Mr. Langdon's list. One, now set up in the grounds of the Bishop of Truro at Trenython, was found by Mr. Wilfred Gott at the bottom of a dried-up pond. It is only a fragment of a four-holed cross, but, as the illustration shows, must once have been of exceptional beauty. The height of this fragment is 38 inches, and the thickness of the stone is 8 inches. We do not know any exactly similar specimen in the county.


The Manor of Halligan, in Crowan, was once held by a family of that name, and afterwards by the Kemyell family, from whom it passed to the St. Aubyns by the marriage of Elizabeth Kemyell to Geoffrey St. Aubyn, in the time of Richard II.1 On October 26, 1399, Geoffrey St. Aubyn, his wife Elizabeth, and their children were granted a licence to have an oratory in connection with their mansion,2 which was doubtless erected in the field known still as the Chapel Field, adjoining the house, and of which the present strongly moulded and segmental-headed window of the kitchen in the farmhouse very possibly once formed part.


Just outside the corner of this Chapel Field, and towards the house, a cross was found several years ago by Mr. Eva, the present tenant. At the time of its being observed by Mr. Rundle, in 1897, it served as a stand for a flower-pot; but the tenant, Mr. Eva, on having his attention drawn to the character of the stone, at once promised to place it where it could be protected from further injury. He remembers a similar stone on the farm, which, he believes, has been built into a hedge, and for which he is 'keeping his eye open.' The Halligan Cross is almost identical with the one at Pendarves, described and figured by Mr. Langdon on p. 244 of his work. The diameter of the head is 1 foot 8 inches; that of the incised circle, which is concentric with the head, 1 foot 3 inches. There is, however, no bead on the edge of the head, and the inner circle is not so wide as on the Pendarves specimen. The cross is plain at the back, where the stone has either been much mutilated, or, as is more probable, was never worked at all. The greatest thickness is 8 inches. The shaft, down which ran the wide incised line, of which a portion is shown in the illustration, was apparently about 7 inches wide.

But by far the most interesting cross found in the county of late years is one that was brought to light, in 1896, by Mr. Joseph Holman, a working-man member of the Camborne Students' Association. Just outside Camborne are the remains of the old manor-house of Crane, one of the arched doorways of which still stands in a cottage that occupies part of the site. In front of this cottage is a well, one side of which was formed of a cross, as shown in the illustration.


Mr. Holman was examining the ironwork when his foot slipped and knocked off some of the growth of weed that hid the cross. He at once cleaned the stone and, with pardonable pride, announced his discovery to his fellow-students. The consent of the landowner, Mr. Basset, of Tehidy, having been obtained, the cross was removed to its present position in the cemetery of Camborne Church. During its removal a second cross was found beneath it!

On that side of the first cross which lay uppermost is a good wheel cross, the edges of it have been unfortunately trimmed to make it fit into its place. The side limbs of the cross are each 5 inches in length, the top limb being 4 inches, and the bottom limb apparent of the same length, but too injured to admit of exact measurement. Two incised lines run to the foot of the stone, the space between them forming a shaft 4 inches across.


This face has been much injured by the boring of holes for the irons of the 'plump,' which have been more than once shifted. From this mutilation the under surface largely escaped, that side of the cross is of great beauty. Here, too, the head carries a wheel cross deeply cut, the limbs expanding from 2½ inches at the centre to 3½ inches where they join the outer band. Remains of bold ridges are seen at each side of the shaft, and fragments of projections show at the neck. Down the centre of this face runs an incised line, to the right of which the surface is ornamented with a bold zigzag surmounting two interlaced circles, and below them there is a plaited design. To the left of the groove is a figure, apparently male, standing on a shield, beneath which are interlaced circles and plaited work similar to those on the right. The base on which the cross is now mounted is the stone the stocks were formerly fastened to.


The cross found in Crane well below the one just described appears to have been unfinished because of flaws in the granite. The better side of the two is shown in the illustration. The stone is 2 feet 2 inches high and 1 foot 3½ inches across. This also has been afforded room in the churchyard.

There are no less than six other crosses in Camborne, all noted in Langdon's work.

Extracted from The Cornish Magazine, Vol. 1, 1898, pp74-77.