I guess you could say that I am nosy by nature. I would prefer to be called curious or inquisitive but really I just like to know stuff. As a child I drove my parents up the wall with endless questions – why this? and how that? But you see if you don’t ask you can’t know. And sometimes there is the joy of the unexpected discovery!
There is a rather grand gateway that I have driven passed numerous times and always silently wondered where it leads? What are those smart gateposts for? The other day I had the opportunity to take a little peek and found something quite unexpected!
The driveway beyond those fancy gateposts leads to the Bosvathick estate, a family owned house and gardens with a quiet history tucked away near the small rural village of Constantine. The house has been in the hands of one family since 1760 and has recently starting opening it’s doors to the public during the summer months. It was something beside the driveway however that caught my attention before I even arrived at the house.
A group of 3 ancient crosses huddled together in a kind of rockery. As someone who has spent many years wandering around her local area looking at ancient pieces of granite how did I know nothing about these? And what were they doing here? You see. . . too many questions!
I went away and looked into their story and found that there was very little information available and a good deal of confusion! According to my ‘go-to’ author for insight into Cornish Crosses, Andrew Langdon, no one seems very sure where they came from.
The stones themselves it appears all date from the medieval period. Many stone crosses such as these were used as way-markers, guiding the traveller from one church to another through what would have been un-signposted and lonely countryside.
It seems that these 3 little crosses ended up here because they were “gathered together” by the land owner of the estate in the 19th century. Thomas Moor Horsford was the owner in around 1860 and Lakes Parochial Guide to Cornwall says that he “considerably improved the mansion and the grounds” adding a pair of splendid stone lions to the gardens. I wonder if the crosses were his addition also.
The records that I have been able to dig up suggested that the crosses were brought to their present location from other sites nearby. Two are thought to be from Trewoon, in Budock Parish, an ancient hamlet which appears in the Doomsday book and one from Boswarren (or Bosvarron) close to Constantine. Charles Henderson, another fantastic source of local history, first recorded the crosses in their present position in about 1870 and there they have stood ever since, hidden and pretty much forgotten about for nearly 150 years.
But there are still so many questions, don’t you think?!
Access to the crosses is restricted, please bear that in mind and go to Bosvathick’s website (link above) to see when they are open for a visit! It was well worth the wait!
For more forgotten places try: William Tresidder’s Grave or Cornwall’s Oldest Road