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Launcells Church

Launcells Church

Launcells parish is tucked away in an unspoilt area of North Cornwall.

Launcells church is dedicated to St Swithin and stands in a wooded hollow, a peaceful tree-lined oasis, yet still within easy reach of the A3092 Stratton to Holsworthy road. Much of the building dates from the 15th century though the church was likely to have been Norman in origin.

The interior of St Swithin's was described by Sir John Betjemen as "the least spoiled church interior in Cornwall." It has a grace and simplicity which many of Cornwall's churches lost due to insensitive Victorian restorations. Its unique features include its collection of over 60 original 15th century bench ends depicting unusual symbolic themes. The West wall has a mural painting portraying the sacrifice of Isaac. The chancel is paved with Barnstaple encaustic tiles which date from the 1400s. The windows of clear glass survived the Victorian fashion for introducing stained glass.

In the church yard is the tomb of the notable Cornish worthy, Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, inventor of the steam jet and pioneer of the system of unique signal flashes which identified individual lighthouses. Born at Padstow in 1793 he was not only an inventor and engineer but also built Bude Castle, pioneering the technique of building on a concrete raft base.

GPS coordinates of the church are: N 50 49.470 W 004 29.712

The Holy Well of St Swithin stands a short distance from the church. The stone Well House is in excellent condition. The water feeds the River Neet which flows through Stratton and to the sea at Bude.

The name Launcells is believed to derive from the Cornish 'lan' meaning sacred or monastic enclosure plus a second unidentified word.

Launcells was part of the Hundred of Stratton. There has been some habitation at Launcells since before Norman times. The Manor of Launcells is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Landsev. It had land for 9 ploughs and was recorded as having 2 slaves, 3 villagers and 11 smallholders. Its value was recorded as 40 shillings.

There are no remains of the original Launcells Manor house. It stood on land just to the East of the church. Launcells Barton occupies the original site.

Visitors to the parish and its beautiful church will find themselves stepping back in time to a peaceful and less hurried pace of life.

For information about services and events at St Swithin's Church please click here.

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In the North Cornwall district of Cornwall.

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Launcells Church
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Launcells Church

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Launcells Church
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Launcells Church
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Holy Well near Launcells Church
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Launcells Church
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