The Mexico Cross, Phillack

A recent bout of hedge-trimming  on Mexico Towans has cleared away the undergrowth along  Mexico Lane to reveal the Mexico Cross.

Described by  Andrew Langdon in his book ‘Stone Crosses in West Cornwall’ as a wheel-headed churchyard cross it was originally  found lying in the schoolyard at Phillack where it had been placed for safety in the 1880s by the Rector of Phillack, Canon Frederick Hockin.  Previously the cross had stood in the middle of the field on the western side of Phillack Church until it was moved by the local farmer.  It was later re-erected in the hedgerow of the same field where it stands today.

The monument is made from fine-grained granite and displays an equal-limbed cross in relief which is surrounded by beading around the edge of the cross- head.

The cross dates from the late twelfth or early thirteenth century and may have been one of a number of  a number of waymarks along an old pilgrims’ route.  There is an ancient bank and ditch road across the Towans to Lelant Ferry which was probably laid down by the Saxons.  This links the Ferry and the three churches of Gwithian, Phillack and Lelant to the Pilgrims’ Way to the Basilica of St James at Compostella in Spain.  Small pilgrims’ tokens in the shape of St James’ cockleshell   emblem have been found in the Sanctuary Fields behind Glebe Row.  Here pilgrims could stay overnight on their way to and from Spain, and to other major centres of Pilgrimage such as Rome and Jerusalem.

Georgina Schofield