The Parish Church of St. Carantoc

The Parish Church of
St. Carantoc

Most visitors head for the church on arriving at the village, as the Church is the most interesting for miles round, and having a very interesting history.

St. Carantoc founded an oratory here in the 5th century. A collegiate church of considerable importance existed for centuries, being founded early in the 13th century by Bishop Bruerne. The choir was reconstructed in 1224 and a tower added. In 1337 Bishop Brantingham called attention to the perilous state of the tower and left money for its completion, but in 1412 it fell upon the nave and reduced it to ruins. Rebuilding was undertaken shortly afterwards.

In the 19th century Crantock Church was in a ruinous condition. The Rev. G. Metford Parsons came to the village as vicar, and at once set about a restoration in the 1890's. The interior is dark, but as the eye accustoms itself the full beauty of the very fine screen, incorporating portions of the original, can be appreciated.

The Rood screen was destroyed at the dissolution of the monasteries and the present screen is a work of art carved by Miss Mary Rashleigh Pinwell, a vicar's daughter from Devon. It was brought to Crantock in 5 sections and erected in 1905. The striking figures on the top of the screen look German, and in fact were carved in the German style by Fritz Lang (from a family of Oberammergau wood carvers).

The Parish Church of St. Carantoc

Much of the 14th century parclose screen in the south chapel is also original. Note the modern bench-ends and a number of beautiful stained-glass windows. The font, of native elvan, is inscribed with the date 1474, but is probably of Norman origin, the date commemorating rebuilding after the fall of the tower. It is said that the foundations of the church are Pre-conquest, but the earliest visible features are Norman choir arches. The chancel arch is Early English, as is also the western tower, as high as the belfry. The register of marriages and burials dates from 1559. The silver chalice of the Communion service is dated 1576 on the cover.

The painted bosses and the wagon roof have recently been restored after a fire in May 1985.

Walk around the back of the church and you will come to the stocks. Previously they were in position in the church tower, here they were enclosed. About 1817, the last man in the stocks, having managed to free himself, climbed the steps to the belfry and, cutting the rope of the tenor bell, used it to lower himself down to the roof and got clear away.

A little further along, at the corner of the church, you can see the sea, and be reminded that this village of history is also a place of beauty and enjoyment.

In the churchyard may be seen a fine specimen of an ancient stone coffin. Near the south porch is a round piece of an ancient Cornish corn mill.

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