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Church of St Mary Magdalene

A Grade I Listed Building in Launceston, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6378 / 50°38'16"N

Longitude: -4.3601 / 4°21'36"W

OS Eastings: 233208

OS Northings: 84675

OS Grid: SX332846

Mapcode National: GBR NL.91X9

Mapcode Global: FRA 17RD.365

Plus Code: 9C2QJJQQ+4X

Entry Name: Church of St Mary Magdalene

Listing Date: 27 February 1950

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1280301

English Heritage Legacy ID: 369978

Location: Launceston, Cornwall, PL15

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Launceston

Built-Up Area: Launceston

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Launceston

Church of England Diocese: Truro

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Launceston

Description


LAUNCESTON

SX3284 CHURCH STREET
660-1/4/48 Church of St Mary Magdalene
27/02/50

GV I

Chapel, later church to serve the town of Launceston. Late C14
tower, otherwise 1511-24 for Sir Henry Trecarrel of Trecarrel;
restored 1852 and 1893.
Carved granite and granite ashlar with embattled parapets and
coped gables; dry Delabole slate roofs. Tower is coursed
greenstone.
Plan: West tower ( originally detached); nave/chancel; north
and south aisle of same length and south porch. 4-stage
embattled tower with setback angle buttresses; stair-tower to
SE side.
West front with moulded, pointed-arched doorway right of
centre; 3-light traceried window above trefoil-headed light.
C16 church is buttressed and has elaborate carved decoration
up to parapet cornice returned as string at ends.
Decorative motifs include: plinth quatrefoils alternating with
coats of arms and fleur-de-lis; above this tracery with coats
of arms and letters. The letters, from the chancel door
eastwards read: AVE MARIA GRACIA PLENA DOMINUS TECUM, SPONSUS
AMAT SPONSAM, MARIA OPTIMAM PARTEM ELIGIT. O QUAM TERRIBILIS
ET METUENDUS EST LOCUS ISTE. VERE ALUID NON EST HIC NISI DOMUS
DEI ET PORTA CEL. Above the letters a course of
rose-and-thistle ornament.
Weathered buttresses dividing bays also carved: 7 bays east of
porch; arms of Henry III to E gable and niche with figure of
Mary Magdalene. Original traceried windows, central north
window with thick C18 glazing bars, others with leaded
glazing: 4-light windows except for 5-light chancel window.
2-storey south porch has diagonally-set buttresses; 4-centred
arched doorway with square hoodmould and nook shafts; two
1st-floor 2-light windows with round-headed lights flanking
central niche with terracotta statue of Mary Magdalene.
INTERIOR: plastered walls; 8-bay arcades with
cruciform-on-plan piers with central round shaft and 3 roll
mouldings to each compass point; late C19 carved oak waggon
roofs (copies of 1524 roofs), coloured memorial glass to S
aisle and E end. Porch has octgonal piscina right of inner
4-centred arched doorway and corners of porch have moulded
imposts of former vault.
Fittings: Norman font bowl used as base for 1914 font with
carved cover; exceptionally fine quality C16 octagonal painted
carved oak pulpit; a 1654 pew back, otherwise oak pews by
Arnold Fellows 1894; arms of George I over choir vestry door;
1723 oak organ front with fielded panels possibly by Thomas
Schwarbrick rebuilt and enlarged 1904 by Hele of Plymouth and
last rebuilt in 1960 but retains much of its C18 fabric;
alabaster reredos by Harry Hems of Exeter; lectern 1895 to
George and Emlin Gifford by Rattee & Kett of Cambridge; carved
oak parclose screens, 1904; carved oak chancel screen 1911 by
Rashleigh Pinwell, memorial choir stalls 1893 to John and
Sarah Jane Ching, and triptych in the Lady Chapel.
Monuments: freestone and slate to S wall 1667 to Sarah wife of
John Ruddle; large 2-storey marble to N wall 1731 to Granville
Pyper and Richard Wise, both former mayors, with Corinthian
and Ionic orders, moulded entablature, central panel with
mother and 3 children and urn finial flanked by busts; marble
and freestone memorial to Reverend William Bedford died 1787
aged 63, and Mary his wife died 1783 aged 55, and their sons.
Large monument behind organ loft to Elizabeth Herle of
Dockacre House (qv), "Depart ye life ye December 1714 by
starvation or other unlawful means"; C17 carved figures from
Piper monument inside S door. Mid/late C19 stained glass
includes memorial of 1883 to Sir Henry Trecarrel.
HISTORY: The most spectacular late medieval church in
Cornwall. The exceptionally elaborate carved ornamentation is
paralleled by the near-contemporary work at St Mary Truro (now
part of the cathedral) and Probus. Launceston was the county
town until 1835.
(The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Cornwall: London:
1952-1970: 96-7; Kelly: Directory of Cornwall: 1902-1902: 168,
169).


Listing NGR: SX3320984673

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