A guest article by Myghal Map Serpren

Treslothan lays just to the south of Camborne in West Cornwall. The location was recorded as ‘Tresulwethan’ in 1319 which translates from the Cornish language ‘tre Sulwedhan’ as ‘Sulwethan’s farm’, with Sulwedhan being a personal name. The very fact that it has a Cornish name suggests that it dates from the times before the arrival of the Norman age. The place was mentioned in 1282.

A chapel in Treslothan was licensed in 1427 and dedicated to St. James. This is now no more but it is believed that it lay in the near vicinity of the current church.

The present church, which is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist and which was constructed following the generous financial patronage of Edward William Wynne Pendarves M.P. to the designs of George Wightwick, was opened on 6th October 1841 and was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Exeter on 25th July 1842 as a chapel of ease to Camborne before the creation of its parish in 1845.

The mausoleum of the Pendarves family is in the churchyard and near to this may be found the final resting place of John Harris (born 14th October 1820, died 7th January 1884), that great Cornish miner, poet and Methodist lay preacher who from humble beginnings, later became a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1879 for being ‘distinguished in letters’.

The Pendarves Mausoleum at Treslothan

At the east external end of the church building stands a wheel headed cross which has travelled the parish before reaching this, its permanent home. Listed as being of medieval construction, i.e. the period 1066 CE to 1539 CE, this granite cross measures some 2 feet 7 inches in height, with the head being 1 foot 7 inches wide. One face bears a Latin Cross in relief and the other an unusual representation of Christ with an inverted horse-shoe shaped border.

Originally a wayside cross, it is not known where it originally stood before around 1880. Around that time, it was discovered in a ditch and reset on to a wall at the nearby Killivose.

A few years later, it suffered a further fall and was relocated to Pendarves House where it remained until about 1956 when it was moved again to where it now stands.

Referred to as ‘Pendarves No 1’ by T F G Dexter in his ‘Cornish Crosses Christian and Pagan’, the splayed leg design on the cross is compared to a Phoenician figure, itself based upon a Hittite design, possibly developed from the Egyptian Ankh. This was consecrated to Tanit and is thought of as a symbol of the Punic Trinity. Dexter is well known for ideas that are looked down upon by modern scholars, specifically his attempts to link Christianity and its symbology to much more ancient ‘pagan’ religious concepts.

In the book ‘Old Cornish Crosses’ published in 1896 by that great antiquarian, Arthur G. Langdon, there is some confusion as it is apparent that he thought there were two crosses, the one at Killivose and another at Pendarves.

However, in ‘Christian Antiquities of Camborne’ by Professor Charles Thomas published in 1967, the confusion is finally cleared and the two crosses earlier mentioned clarified as being one and the same.

All images provided by the author.


  • Place Names in Cornwall and Scilly by Craig Weatherhill (Wessex Books, Westcountry Books, Launceston 2005)
  • Lake’s Parochial History of Cornwall by Joseph Polsue (John Camden Hotton, Piccadilly , 1872)
  • Cornish Church Guide and Parochial History of Cornwall by Charles Henderson (D. Bradford Barton Ltd. Truro 1925 reprinted 1964)
  • Cornish Crosses, Christian and Pagan by T F G and Henry Dexter (Longmans, Green & Co, London 1938)
  • Old Cornish Crosses by Arthur G. Langdon with an article by J. Romilly Allen FSA (Scot) (John Pollard, Truro 1896)
  • Christian Antiquities of Camborne by Professor Charles Thomas (Warne, St Austell 1967)