A guest article by Myghal Map Serpren.

A granite wayside cross stands at the roadside passing Gwealavellan Farm on the inland side of Reskajeage Downs, one of several such items of historical and archaeological interest in the area between Illogan Parish, Camborne Parish and the rugged North Cliffs of Cornwall.

Measuring some 5 feet 10 inches in height, it was one of 13 crosses marking the church route from Gwithian to Camborne Church although it has had something of a chequered history before coming to eventual rest during August 1999 in an ancient landscape which is also rich in the Cornish language.

Reskajeague Cross from the NE (taken by the author). Note the missing projection on the left.

This Medieval (1066CE to 1539CE) monument has a wheel head containing a broad cross below which were two projections, one on each side of the shaft. Sadly, one of these has been lost due to damage. It languished as a gatepost for many years, buried head down and defaced by having holes bored into it (and the projection removed) to allow for gate hanging.

It was again uprooted in 1995, then to rest in a field at nearby Butney Corner just north of Menadarva until 1998 at which time it was taken to Gwealavellan Farm, along the road by the farmer, Mr Ernest Bowden, who knew of the stone since 1966 but until recent times and as it was upended, was unaware of its historic significance.

Thankfully, following negotiations between Mr Bowden and Camborne Old Cornwall Society, it was on 24th August 1999, that the stone was re-erected on a new base set near the old Reskajeage, Gwealavellan, Menadarva, Kehelland to Camborne church route. Being adjacent to fields recorded in 1737CE as being named Parc an Grouse and Parken Grown, alongside the minor road between Carlenno and Gwealavellan where it is joined by the church path route, this seemed a most suitable location with toponymic precedent for the decision, although searches for the original base stone have proven fruitless.

Reskajeague Cross from the SW (taken by the author). Note the holes used for gate hinges.

‘Parc an Grouse’ and ‘Parken Grown’ both translate from the Cornish as ‘the cross field’, and join other local fields with names recorded in the 1840CE Tithe Survey and which together share fragments of ancient field systems together with the remains of an oval-shaped Iron Age round.

The farm settlement’s name of ‘Gwealavellan’ is again Cornish, derived from ‘gwel an velyn’ translating as ‘the mill field’ according to Craig Weatherhill’s research rather than the alternative ‘view of the mill’ suggested by others.

The nearby parish boundary dividing Illogan and Camborne is, in the main, delineated by field hedges which extend to the cliffs. Interestingly, in 1601CE, this boundary was recorded as  ‘Keasek Vres’ translating from the Cornish ‘ke segh uras’ or ‘great dry hedge’.

Of Reskajeage itself, recorded as  Roscadaek in 1317CE, Reskaseak Downs in 1673CE, Riskejeake Downs in 1723CE and finally Reskajeage Downs in 1888CE, the name translates from the Cornish ‘ros Cajek’ as ‘Cadoc’s hillspur’. The downs themselves are named after the settlement of Ruschedek recorded in 1235CE.

Reskajeage abounds in archaeological sites, Bronze Age (2,500 – 800BCE) barrows and there have been numerous finds of implements from the Mesolithic (8,000 – 4,000BCE) and Neolithic (4,000 – 2,500BCE) eras. The area also boasts numerous settlement names which have direct Cornish language roots.

A further Medieval cross is recorded at Callean, not far from the site of the current one. Records show that this was uprooted by the Basset family and relocated to Tehidy House where it stood between the conservatory and the nursery. It remained there until the great fire at Tehidy in 1919CE and thereafter, sadly, disappeared.

Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries of Reskajeage though is the possibility that it was the site of a great battle which occurred back in the mists of time.

Indeed, in 1926CE, Dr T. F. G. Dexter B.A., B.Sc., Royal Institution of Cornwall, wrote that Reskajeage derived from ‘’Roskedek’ recorded in 1236CE as ‘heath of many battles’.

This battle is commemorated by a one-time menhir later repurposed as a Christian Cross which now stands in the churchyard of St Martin & St Meriadoc in Camborne following a rather laborious journey.

Intriguingly called ‘Meane Cadoarth’ and also ‘Meane Cadoacor‘ and ‘Maen Cadoar’, and with ‘Meane’ and others deriving from the Cornish ‘men’ meaning ‘stone’ with a descriptor, this long stone is believed to date from the Bronze Age but was subject to extensive alterations in order to convert it into a Christian Cross in the Early Medieval to Medieval period.

Maen Cadoar (Connor Downs Cross)

It was initially situated on the boundary of the Gwithian and Gwinear Parishes and recorded in the Gwinear parish bounds of 1613CE as “Maen Cadoarth” and “the Battle Stone” and in 1651CE recorded as “the long stone called Meane Cadoarth”.  By 1755CE it was said to be laying at a roadside between Camborne and Redruth and by 1896CE it had become a gate post. Finally, the landowner of the Rosewarne Estate, Mr Van Grutten allowed the stone to be moved to its current position on 1st November, 1904CE.

At the head of the former menhir, standing to a height of around six feet, Medieval alterations caused a cross to be formed by four rounded triangular sinkings. The shaft of the stone is beaded and the decoration consists of a panel with lines of shallow holes.

Local tradition now recorded informs that each hole represents the life of a man killed at the great battle at Reskajeage Downs.

Of this battle, nothing is currently known. Some have speculated that the Cadoc included in toponymical research of Reskajeage is in the Cornish Royal lineage of King Doniert and that the spur and battle were named for him. Cadoc, also known as Condor, Candorus and other names, was a legendary Cornish nobleman and 16th Century antiquarians recorded him as Earl of Cornwall during the Norman conquest.

However, as with the menhirs, ancient sites, relics and stone crosses of Reskajeage and elsewhere, history moves irrevocably on and more has been forgotten than will ever be known.


  • Cornish Names – Dr. T.F.G. Dexter B.A., B.Sc., Royal Institution of Cornwall, Longman Green and Co. Ltd. 1926 with a reprint D. Bradford Barton Ltd, Truro 1968
  • Unpublished notes of the late Craig Weatherhill

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