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900-year-old High Cross is back where it belongs in Truro

One of Cornwall’s ancient Celtic crosses is back in its rightful place in Truro city centre following a joint restoration project by Cornwall Archaeological Unit and Cormac.

Members of Truro Old Cornwall Society were delighted to see the High Cross returned to its site outside the Cathedral in time for Christmas following a road accident that broke it into four pieces.

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Andrew Langdon, an expert on Cornish crosses who researched the history of the cross and recorded the works, said that it was originally discovered buried in St Nicholas Street in November 1958, and rescued by Mr Les Douch who at the time was curator of the Royal Cornwall Museum.

In 1959 the cross was set up on the west side of the Cathedral in a flower border, then in 1981 removed to its present position. In 1988 it was made ‘a truly High Cross’, when a new modern shaft was added in a project organised by former mayor of Truro, Cllr John Christie. 

It has stood safely alongside the Cathedral and Truro’s Georgian Assembly Rooms building in High Cross for the last 30 years, but was demolished in a vehicle crash in February 2019 and broken into four pieces. Its remains were collected up by staff from Truro City Council Park’s department and stored in a yard at Boscawen Park until stonemasons lan and Alex Piper, with help from Peter Hooper, skillfully repaired it at Bearah Tor Quarry on Bodmin Moor.

Ten months after the accident, in December the cross was at last set up again by Alex and Ian Piper with the help of Charlie Dinnis of Caradon Tool and Plant Hire and staff from Cormac. 

James Gossip, Senior Archaeologist at Cornwall Archaeological Unit which is part of Cornwall Council, said: “We are happy to announce that in a joint project between Cornwall Archaeological Unit and Cormac, Truro’s High Cross has been restored to its rightful place. The 900-year-old cross once again forms a feature in High Cross, where it stands as a complement to the splendour of the lofty cathedral and a reminder of Truro’s antiquity.” 

Story posted on January 8, 2020