Crantock Church, Cornwall

Crantock Church, Cornwall

Crantock Church is dedicated to St Carantock. A church existed here before the Normans, probably dating from St Carantoc in the 6th century. The foundations of the church are pre-Norman, but the earliest visible features are Norman choir arches.

Crantock village roots can be seen in its earlier name - Langurroc, 'The Dwelling of Monks'. It had its origins in the arrival of a Sixth Century Celtic saint, Carantoc. He is said to have been blown into the Gannel estuary when sailing from Ireland. To give thanks for his deliverance, he decided to build himself an oratory. However the dove that he had brought with him ( the dove was shorthand for the "holy Spirit" in those days) flew inland with a twig in its beak, and dropped it. Carantoc took this as a sign from God that he should build the oratory at that location.

Then a collegiate church was founded here early in the thirteenth century by Bishop Bruerne. The choir was reconstructed in 1224 and a tower added.

However by 1337 Bishop Brantingham called attention to the state of the tower and left money for its repair. By 1412 the belfry of the collegiate church fell upon the nave and reduced it to ruins. Bishop Edmund Stafford, on the 11th August 1412, invited the faithful to assist in its restoration. But in 1417, the chancel was recorded as still being in a ruinous state.

The college suffered at the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII, but the Norman church survived and, although suffering neglect over the centuries, was fully restored at the turn of the twentieth century. The Rev. G. Metford Parsons came to the village as vicar, and at once set about a restoration in the 1890's. It now boasts some of the finest wood carving in the West Country.


The arcades have pointed arches of Newquay sand-stone, supported on octagonal pillars of the same material. The eastern end of the north aisle is used as a vestry. There is a south porch and a priest's door.

The tower is of three low tapering stages, with Early English buttresses; the parapet is embattled. It contains six bells.

The Rood screen was destroyed at the dissolution of the monasteries. The present screen was, unusually for the time, carved by a woman, Miss Mary Rashleigh Pinwell, a vicar's daughter from Devon. It was brought to Crantock in 5 sections and erected in 1905.

Much of the fourteenth century parclose screen in the south chapel is also original.

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.

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 original village stocks are around the back of the church . Previously they were in position in the church tower, here they were enclosed. About 1817, the last man in the stocks, managed to free himself, climb the steps to the belfry and, used the rope of the tenor bell to lower himself down to the roof and got away.

Crantock Church Genealogical Information on Genuki

Cornwall Churches