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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Cornwall

by Jo Lewis, 24 August 2021

Restormel (North) Part 2: Churches of St Mawgen

Lanherne Convent Chapel, St Mawgan, Restormel, Cornwall

The original Lanherne Convent Chapel sits on the edge of St Mawgan Monastery Church in Lanherne (see links), to the north of Newquay Airport and immediately south of St Mawgan-in-Pydar parish church (below). The newer Chapel of St Joseph and St Anne was added in the 1800s at the south end of the complex, accessed through a small door which leads to this entrance (see below). The main lane signposts it as St Joseph & St Anne Roman Catholic Church.

St Joseph & St Anne Roman Catholic Church, St Mawgan, Restormel, Cornwall

The newer chapel serves as the parish church for the Catholic congregation in Mawgan and surroundings. It is built in the Louis XIV style, richly ornamented. There are three wonderful medallions inside showing the 'Agony in the Garden', the crucifixion, and the Last Supper. Of particular interest is the Arundell sanctuary lamp. Tradition claims that it has not been extinguished since pre-Reformation days when the next door parish church would have been Catholic.

St Mawgan-in-Pydar Parish Church, St Mawgan, Restormel, Cornwall

St Mawgan-in-Pydar Parish Church, otherwise referred to as St Mawgan & Nicholas Church, faces the River Menalhyl from its southern bank in the heart of the village of St Mawgan. The building was erected in the thirteenth century, dedicated principally to St Mauganus. It was originally a cruciform structure, but was enlarged by a south aisle and with the upper part of the tower in the fifteenth century. The unusual rood screen and bench ends are noteworthy.

St Mawgan-in-Pydar Parish Church, St Mawgan, Restormel, Cornwall

St Mawgan is unusual in that its superb tower, with its stair turret and spirelet, lies to the south of the church. Its lower part dates from the late thirteenth century but, as mentioned, in the early fifteenth century it was increased, to a height of 21.3 metres. The tower contains a ring of eight bells, which were rehung in 1958, and with seven of them being recast. The eighth is a priceless medieval bell which was cast between 1378 and 1407.

St Mawgan-in-Pydar Parish Church, St Mawgan, Restormel, Cornwall

The ancient well inside the lych gate (shown here) is thought to be the place at which St Mawgan (a sixth century Celtic saint) first preached and baptised in the valley. St Nicholas was added to the dedication by 1310, as Celtic saints were not recognised in the Julian calendar. The Anglican parish is now part of the United Benefice of St Mawgan, St Ervan, and St Eval. This fine grey-stone church building is currently Grade 1 listed.

St Mawgan Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, St Mawgan, Restormel, Cornwall

St Mawgan Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (Penpont) is on the northern edge of the village, across the stream and near Penpont. It was registered as a place of worship in 1840 and was built as a Wesleyan chapel. In 1932 it became Mawgan in Pydar Methodist Church. It has often been referred to as 'the chapel in the valley'. The building has a simple exterior and was refurbished around 2010, now offering chairs and a worship area for the congregation.

Five photos on this page by Jo Lewis, and one kindly contributed by Kingsley Allison via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group.



Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.