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Church of St Swithin

A Grade I Listed Building in Launcells, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.8243 / 50°49'27"N

Longitude: -4.4947 / 4°29'40"W

OS Eastings: 224389

OS Northings: 105716

OS Grid: SS243057

Mapcode National: GBR K4.XH5H

Mapcode Global: FRA 16GX.JRM

Plus Code: 9C2QRGF4+P4

Entry Name: Church of St Swithin

Listing Date: 9 September 1985

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1141834

English Heritage Legacy ID: 64847

Location: Launcells, Cornwall, EX23

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Launcells

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Launcells

Church of England Diocese: Truro

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5/33 Church of St Swithin


Parish Church. South doorway C14, aisles late C15, porch late C15/C16, tower
C16, parts of the east end C17 (date stone), some C20 tracery. Granite dressings.
South aisle stone rubble; north aisle stone rubble brought to course. Tower dressed
stone brought to course; south porch polyphant and stone rubble, polyphant dressings,
east end patched stone rubble with granite dressings, east gables of chancel and north
aisle rebuilt in local brick, slate roofs. Largely Perpendicular church with west
tower, chancel, north and south 5-bay arcades, 1 bay each to the chancel, south porch.
South aisle has three 4-light windows with C20 tracery probably on the pattern of C16
tracery, no cusping in the heads, fourth window to west of porch similar 3-light, not
renewed. No windows to west ends of either aisle. East window of chancel has 3 wide
lights with thin tracery: cut back jamb, repaired cusping and brick gable suggest C17
restoration of C15 window. North aisle has moulded granite string above plinth, four
4-light perpendicular windows with hoodmoulds and label stops, rectangular stair
turret, blocked arched north door. East window of north aisle has good large 4-light
window with perpendicular tracery, hoodmould and label stops, keystone in arch of
local brick above window. 3 stage unbuttressed, battlemented, slightly battered west
tower, stages marked by moulded granite strings, boldly-sculpted tall tower pinnacles
have heavily-crocketed finials (q.v. Poundstock and Morwenstow). Moulded granite
string above tower plinth rises to become west door hoodmould. Round-headed, shallow-
moulded west doorway. Granite west window with Perpendicular tracery under hoodmould
with label stops. Ringing chamber has rectangular light on south side with moulded
granite architrave. 2-light belfry openings with slate louvres under single blind
cusped opening. Outer doorway of large gabled porch has polyphant arch carried on
chamfered freestone and polyphant jambs. Porch has oak-topped benches, C15 arched
brace and collar roof with ribs and bosses and holy water stoup. Inner doorway is
deeply-moulded polyphant with arched head. C16/C17 door has outer vertical boarding
with studs, horizontal inner boarding. Door retains strap hinges with fleur de lys
finials, loop drop latch and large wooden lock casing. 4 shafts and 4 hollows, fleurons
Interior. South aisle arcade polyphant piers of 4 shafts and 4 hollows, fleurons
carved on crested capitals, piers carry deeply moulded arches. Granite north arcade
similar, no fleurons on capitals. Tall, double hollow chamfered tower arch dies into
unmoulded jambs. No chancel arch. Nave roof ceiled waggon without ribs or bosses.
Aisle roofs ceiled waggons with ribs and bosses. North aisle ribs richly carved,
deeply-cut bosses include foliage designs and 3 examples of the Granville arms, wall
plate has fine vine carving. South aisle roof less elaborate, fleurons carved on
ribs. C12 font with 2 orders of cable moulding on bowl. Chancel step made up of
important and large collection of C16 Barnstaple glazed tiles, conventional Barnstaple
designs including pelican, lion and profile head with foliage. Late C18 marble
communion and commandment tablets on chancel east wall given by Sir John Call (q.v.
Launcells Barton). Pre-archaeological gothic wooden frame round tablets forms
reredos, frame and similar communion rail late C18/early C19. Important collection of
woodwork. Set of C16 benches, mostly complete, with moulded rails and carved
rectangular ends (q.v. Kilkhampton): 6 in south aisle; 2 in east end south aisle; 11
in south nave (2 ends in each); 11 in north nave (2 ends each). Some bench ends have
unconventional borders. Designs include symbols of the Passion, Agnus Dei, Ascension,
large initials and the Grenville arms. Those at the east end of the south nave have
frontal with continuous carving of blind tracery above quatrefoils filled with various
symbols. The east wall of the south aisle and part of the south return has fine C17
panelling of friezes of round-headed arches with vine decoration and an armorial
bearing. North aisle contains C18 panelled box pews, further panelling used as
dado to south aisle and west end. Late C18/early C19 pulpit has Gothick tracery
applied to drum of C17 style, contemporary tester. Large Royal Arms of Charles II
with traces of colour on north wall attributed to Michael Chuke. (q.v.
Kilkhampton). Freestone monument to Sir John Chamond (q.v. Launcells Barton), died
1624 in east end of south aisle. Figure leaning on elbow in architectural
surround, kneeling figures at head and foot. Part of inscription on slate panel
above figure reads "A memorial for the erecters of the monumente. Ana Grammata".
Below the figure slate inscription with the anagram "Edwarde Arundell,/read and
ruled wel". Early plaster on all walls possibly concealing wall paintings. West
wall of south aisle shows remains of probably 2 wall paintings on different levels
of plater, plaster recently patched with cement. 1 very large wall painting of the
Sacrifice of Isaac : 2 angels above Abraham holding Isaac on an altar. Smaller
figures to the left, including one holding an ass or horse, look C17. A painted
surround of classical architecture frames the whole. Painted text on north wall of
north aisle is said to be the text of a letter from Charles I, dated 1643, thanking
his Cornish subjects. East window retains iron stanchions. Datestone with
"R.C.1689" built into exterior east wall of chancel. Floor of nave and north
aisle made up of slate memorials. Well-lit interior with old clear glass
throughout, much of which has been carefully repaired. 2 of the 6 bells are dated
1751 in a later cast iron bell frame. Church described by John Betjeman as "the
least spoilt church in Cornwall". Bench ends among the best in Cornwall.

Listing NGR: SS2438805714

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