Launceston, Dunheved Cross
Publisher: Francis Frith
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Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries 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 having a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on pilgrimages. Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross
The monument includes a wayside cross known as the Dunheved Cross and a protective margin around it, situated beside a minor road next to the main east-west route, the modern A30 road, on the southern outskirts of Launceston in east Cornwall. The Dunheved Cross is visible as an upright granite shaft and head set in a two stepped base. The cross is a composite structure of three medieval cross parts found in the vicinity, together with a modern lower shaft and lower base step. The upper basal step is a medieval cross base originally located at the Badash, or Dunheved, crossroads, 20m north of the monument’s present location. The upper shaft of the monument was discovered 400m to the south west at Badash Farm and is considered to have derived from the cross base when complete. The cross head was discovered in a field on Tresmarrow Farm, 1.3km to the WSW. The separate pieces were assembled, with the modern lower shaft and lower base, at the Badash cross-roads in 1902. The resulting cross was re-erected 20m further south to its present site when the Launceston by-pass, the A30 trunk road, was built in 1981.