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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Cornwall

by Jo Lewis, 17 February 2024

Carrick (North & West) Part 6: Churches of St Erme to St Allen

St Hermes Church, St Erme, Cornwall

St Hermes Church, or the 'Church of St Erme', lies at the south-eastern corner of the village of the same name. St Erme is easily found, to the south of Mitchell via the A39. The church tower and font of this Grade 2 listed building are believed to date from about 1250 - quite an early date for a church tower, with most being added in the 1300s-1400s - but the nave and chancel were built (rebuilt) in the 1500s. The earlier church had a large north chapel and, apparently, no aisles.

St Hermes Church, St Erme, Cornwall

The church was rebuilt in 1819-1820 by John Foulston for Rev Cornelius Cardew. Apparently it had to be rebuilt in 1820 and, despite all the rebuilding, it had to be restored in 1906. The tower gained new floors, beams, and a lead roof, and the pinnacles were reset. The bells were recast and increased in number to form a new peal of six. A new south doorway was built of Polyphant stone, and new doors of solid oak were installed. New windows were inserted into the belfry.

St Hermes Church, St Erme, Cornwall

St Hermes now consists of a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, and north and south transepts. The chancel and nave are wide, and the aisles are narrow. This arrangement was chosen so that a single roof could cover everything. The arcades each have six elliptical arches, supported on pillars. The main entrance is through the tower, besides which there are a priest's door and vestry door. The three-stage tower is finished with battlements and crocketed pinnacles.

Trispen Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Trispen, St Erme, Cornwall

Trispen Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Trispen, sits on the eastern side of the lane which leads to The Bulldog Hotel. The village's first Wesleyan chapel was built in 1803. The present building opened in 1846, presumably on the same site. A Sunday school was added later, with a three-stall stable underneath. A coal stove was installed in 1900, replaced by a hot water system in 1907. It became Trispen Methodist Church in 1932. It was reopened and rededicated in 1975.

Trispen Reading Room, Trispen, St Erme, Cornwall

Trispen Reading Room no longer exists, but the building which housed it could be found on the main street in Trispen, the northern part of St Erme (the two used to be separate villages with clear space in between until modern housing spread joined them). Side-by-side views suggest the original building itself no longer exists. This early 1900s photograph was taken by Arthur William Jordan, with the original being part of the RIC collection, Royal Cornwall Museum.

St Martin's Old Chapel, Lanner, Cornwall

St Martin's Old Chapel, Lanner (Lanher or Lane) lies due west of St Erme, via Treworgan. In the late 1000s, St Allen was taxed under the jurisdiction of Lanner, itself signifying 'temple', so called from an ancient temple or chapel on it which was dedicated to St Martin of Towers. There are no remains of this chapel but it survived in memory as St Martin's fields, which were well known locally. Lanner itself was the site of a country residence for the bishops of Exeter.

Three photos on this page by Jo Lewis, and one kindly contributed by Roy Reed via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group. Additional information from The History of Cornwall: From the Earliest Records and Traditions, to the Present Time, Fortescue Hitchins (Compiler, W Penaluna, 1824).



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