Launcells, Cornwall a complete History - Secret Cornish Treasure. St Swithin's Parish Church of Launcells - Bude. Cornwall History & information. Launcells & the Battle of Stratton - History Hartland Abbey, Images

Launcells Cornwall
St Swithins Launcells Cornwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Swithins Parish Church of Launcells, Cornwall

Written by David Freeman © 2012

For  the TV  Series  Secret Britain

The compelling story of   Britain's most unspoiled church.

A complete  history  of   Launcells  &  St Swithin's, Cornwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

he is blessed with great grace and simplicity and at least magical if not charmed. This beautiful place has been left well enough alone over time. For always a holy place yet still remaining unspoiled or bedecked by the changelings of Victorian fashion.

 

 

 St. Swithins church has always prevailed and to this day is Cornwall's perfect living picture postcard, standing as an elegant & timeless reflection of our heritage built entirely upon man's true foundation, his devotion to God.

 

 Hidden away in the enchanted Cornish parish of Launcells, solid and pure, is St. Swithin's church. Holding close all those travellers from far and from wide who discover her and enter her arms.

 

 

 

 

 

St Swithins Church Launcells Cornwall Postcard

fine English Parish Church St. Swithin in Launcells waits patiently deep in the heart of the North Cornwall countryside, standing quietly and hushed as she has done for near a thousand years. The focus of this tiny English hamlet, only but a league inland of the great Celtic sea, she is cloaked and still hidden in the misty greenery of time.
A History of Launcells - Cornwall  

 

St Swithins Dell Cornwall

  St. Swithins church in Launcells nestles here resting on the shoulder of Cornwall like an old but familiar friend, deep amid an ancient tree endowed valley where silent men walked and pilgrims once prayed.

 Beneath oak groves and elder, willow and ash, this has always been an enchanted and sacred place. Watered by a small stream they call the Neet, ever growing as it twists & tumbles down the valley towards Stratton & Bude to the ocean beyond.

 The ancient Launcells church stands guard as she has done for eons, above the well of St. Swithin the Holy confessor, a sainted man who it is said wandered these lands devoutly serving God in the days when Kenulf was King.

The holy well still lies beneath the shadow of the church's granite battlements raised in defence Norman times. As legend has it, never to run dry and the healer of all ailments of the eye and of sight.

St Swithins Dell  in Cornwall  

 

 

St. Swithins in winter, the Parish Church of Launcells - North Cornwal  l- England

Photo ©2012 Jackie Freeman Photography - Bude - Cornwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

  The Reverend David Barnes, currently Vicar of Honley with Brockholes, West Yorkshire, is to be Priest-in-charge of , Launcells, Stratton, Bude and Marham Church, in the Diocese of Truro as of February 2012.

 Reverend Barnes will be the 50th vicar of St. Swithins church in Launcells in its 750 year history.

We wish him well in all of his his endeavours.

 

St Swithin's Church Wardens:

Mr. J Davies & Mrs. Margaret Dunn.  01288 356133

Vicar of Launcells St Swithins Church, David Barnes.

 

 


St.Swithin Coat of Arms

 
Vicar of Launcells St Swithins Church, David Barnes.
 
     

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Swithin's Holy well

St. Swithin's Holy Well. A forgotten Cornish Treasure in North Cornwall

 

 

 urely weary wayfarers, shared this mysterious and magical place with wandering pilgrims who would have once stopped here at Launcells (Launcellis) on their monumental journeys, resting for a while to partake of its cool and healing waters.

Long before when St Andrew gave his name as its first true dedication, the paganus of this land may have questioned why but still revered its mysterious if not magical powers.

For this sacred spring was here long before disciples of Christ.

As legend would have it, the Holy men of Hartland Abbey who raised the first great granite walls here for Hugo de Moltone, their once powerful Abbot, can it is said, still be heard chanting as the wind sings through the mystical wooded glades of Launcells be it day or by night. And there are those who will swear that the clack of hooves and the swirl of cloaks can still be felt if not seen as daylight fades here, plunging Dub wood into the inky black of night.

 In this aged land of legend, as Cornwall rolls back its history, take a closer look at the silent treasure that so many do not know.

A very special treasure that they call, St. Swithins in the Dell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

   
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Sithin's in the Dell

 

Statue St Swithins
St Swithins church window Launcells Cornwall
                                                

 

 

t is very clear that on this holy site a place of worship had stood as far back as Norman times. A simple structure surely it would have been, solid and forthright, serving purpose rather than offering overt decoration and majesty.

 The great Doomsday book complied in 1086 at the order of William the Conqueror, itself cites the existence of the now long vanished Launcells Manor, once standing near here on the hillock behind the church. (This is later referred to as Launcells House, the seat of Richard de Launcells who was something of a mysterious character and a subject I will get onto later.)

Launcells then was cited then as 'Landseu' on the lands of the Count of Mortain.

 

 

Launcells entry in the Doomsday Book

Launcells entry in the Doomsday Book

 

 

 Doomsday informs us that; "Alfred holds LANDSEU. Ælfric held it before 1066, and paid tax for 1½ virgates of land; 2 hides here, however. Land for 9 ploughs; 3½ ploughs there; 2 slaves. 3 villagers and 11 smallholders. Underwood, 30 acres; pasture, 50 acres."

 Then, during the reign of King John, Matilda the widow of William of Lancells, granted a swathe of woodland and its buildings, known locally as Dub Wood, to Hugo, the Abbot of Hartland Abbey for the princely sum of ten shillings. Where upon tradition has it that henceforth the Abbot would use this secret place in the valley at Launcells as his summer residence and private contemplative chapel.  

 As with all ancient tales, no one is quite sure what is actually true, but what is known is that in 1261, Hugh de Moltone, sounding remarkably like our Abbot of Harteland, became the very first vicar of what later was to become Launcells Parish Church, so a goodly amount of the account is probably correct.

 

 But time moves relentlessly on, even here in this enchanted valley and it's now been three centuries which have passed since the Augustinian monks of Hartland first built this holy place.

Change was about to come in no small measure and in one fell swoop, it fell upon their Cornish heads.

 

 

Ancient Churchyard at Launcells Church - Cornwall.

Ancient Churchyard at Launcells Church - Cornwall. Photo courtesy Allan Hillery ©2012

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 St. Swithin's and the wind of change

St Swithins treasure

     Bible St Swithins Church Cornwall

 

 

enry the King of England, utterly disgruntled by the Papal refusal to grant him a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, made drastic changes to the British religious system, severing all links with Rome and making himself the majestic head of the church of England, principally in order to 'bend the rules so it suited him.'

 The British people at this time, viewed the Roman Catholic church as just a money making machine, set and intent on making them pay for everything which traditionally should be free. This included marriages, baptisms and even gaining a rightful a place in heaven by being buried in hallowed ground. So they rallied in great numbers to their King in support.

 Henry who was by now legally the self made Supreme Head of the Church of England by an Act of Parliament passed in 1534, now ordered the closure of all the religious orders of England and Wales, including around 800 monasteries, priories, nunneries and friaries and demanded the seizure of all their assets and lands as the wind gathered momentum.

Religious reform, or repression as it was more often termed, had arrived in Cornwall too. Though the country was still primarily Roman Catholic, the Pope’s great power here had finally been ended with Henry left completely in control.

 

 

Henry VIII  Launcels Cornwall

Cornwall  

 

 

n North Cornwall  near the raging and wild Atlantic coastlands, Hartland's monks were granted no favours by King Henry. Unfairly judged by the monarchy as all religious orders were at this time as having been corrupted by the wealth obtained from renting their land.

By others, the  brothers were seen as lazy idlers, unhelpful in the community and self centred in their ways. With some orders it was thought, encouraging multiple vices, copious drinking and behavior akin to gluttony.

The monasteries curried little favour in the eyes of the royal court.

 So Cromwell was sent in to investigate them, but more so, to interrogate.

 

 Now Cromwell was a hard line officer of the crown, overviewing all monasteries without exception as places full of superstition and excess. Secretive enclaves where veneration of saints and their images encouraged pilgrimages, adultery, unholy excess and purgatory. There could be no real holiness in stones & shrines, its  Pagan holy wells and relics. So they would have to go.

 Cromwell found these closed and often wealthy holy orders contemptuous and demanded answers to these charges from monks who had after all vowed nothing but silence in deference to God within in their holy order. But, incredible as it may sound, by the breaking of that very silence to which they had pledged and in reply to his insistent questioning, it was simply all that was needed for Cromwell to justify it as a sin in itself and thus sufficient to close them down.

Hartland monk drinking wine. Manuscript

 

 

 

 

There was just no possible way for them to win.

A new chapter began for Cornwall's hidden treasure at St. Swithin's in the dell, as a wind of change tumbled down through the Cornish valley.

 

 

 

St. Swithins the Parish Church of Launcells - North Cornwall- England

St. Swithins the Parish Church of Launcells - North Cornwall - England

Photo courtesy Allan Hillery  ©2012

 

 

 In time, a radical new bible was to be produced in England at the command of the King.

Printed in English to replace was seen as the archaic Latin tomes and more importantly, worship for all

and in a language they all understood, followed suit.

 

Change had indeed come, but at a price.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Launcells castle

 

  Sometime after King Henry's death in 1135 someone decided to build themselves a castle in Launcells but who and why is something of a mystery.

 Though little remains of the place called East Leigh Berrys or East Leighburys as others call it, it was probably more a fortified timber hunting lodge than a true blue castle as we know it, such as Launceston castle down the road.

 These properties were designed to be more status symbols than castles, simply resembling traditional castles and certainly, with the site being overlooked from most sides, it would have been a poor defensive position to choose to build a fortified building of substance. So we can rule out Kings and Counts moving into the Parish sadly.

Even so it was still a hefty piece of engineering and many men would have been set to work there to construct what seems to be a mott and bailey castle or ringwork of a comparatively low construction but with three conjoined enclaves.

Aerial views are the best to get hold of its size and form because centuries of farming have almost completely erased the castle from the landscape.

 

 

East Leigh Berrys castle Launcells      

East Leigh Berrys castle site at Launcells

 

 At one time the medieval designers would have intended to build in a main entrance gate leading to a central mound on which the principal building would have been raised. All of this would be surrounded by defensive ditches  which are clearly visible in the image above.

Quite a feat for marauding enemies or the unwanted to try and surmount, particularly with arrows and stones falling around your ears.

 A little imagination and one could magic up how it might have been if the castle had ever had been finished and stood on the Launcells horizon.

Such a pity it wasn't.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART  TWO

Royalist Cornwall

Detail-Launcells church wall painting

Detail-Launcells church wall painting.

©2012 Jackie Freeman Photography - Bude

 

 

 

 

 

taunchly Royalist were the fine men of Launcells in N0rth Cornwall.

 

 But this place they call Launcells was never really a village in the true sense of the word but more a grouped parish made up of four hamlets, including Prestacott, Grimscott, Butspur Cross and Hersham and scattered between them both small and great houses and prosperous farms. However, it once sported both Almshouses and a National school at one time but was too widespread to become just one unit and remains, though conjoined, separated by its own quite widespread geography.

 For certain however, Launcells back in Charle's time was certainly a Royalist stronghold with Churchtown  or Treveglos as it was known , the area around St Swithin's, comprising of but a few small cottages and buildings scattered around the church but long since gone, with the original occupants once serving those principal institutions of the area.

The great Manor of Launcells, rebuilt in George's time as a home also served as a vicarage to St Swithin's for centuries. Latterly this fine building was renamed Launcells Barton, so many people served its farms and offices and other imposing properties of the area and indeed the church itself.

But its one of the few places that does not have a traditional English pub within at least stumbling distance of a church.

  The devoted Cornishmen from these rural  parts must have played a clear and concise roll in the the defence of the area from Cornwall's enemy the Parliamentarians and even fought at the Battle of Stratton itself, less than a mile distant as the  gull flies from the church of St. Swithin at Launcells.


  Sadly records do not exist of those Launcells brave and true  who bore arms to protect their kinsman and honour, but dimly remembered stories secretly told and proudly kept, bear witness to greater heroics of the Launcell's men and even boys from these parts.

 

  Battle site Stamford Hill - Battle of Stratton
 

Site of the Battle of Stamford Hill - Battle of Stratton - 16th May 1643 where 300 men died and 1500 were captured.

Photo ©2012 Jackie Freeman Photography - Bude - Cornwall

 

 

 

 

till visible is the recently uncovered painted text, high on the north wall of north aisle of Launcells church. It pays testimony to the hearts and minds of Launcells men in the days of Cromwell. It is in fact part of a copy of the the text from a letter from King Charles I, dated 1643, in which he thanks his Cornish subjects for their loyal support and sacrifice in their struggle against the Roundheads. ( Transcript below)

 

Wall painting Charles I letter of thanks to Cornwall - Launcells Church

Wall painting Charles I letter of thanks to Cornwall

Launcells Church

Launcells Church Letter from Charles 1st.

C.R

"We are fo highly fenfible of the Extraordinary merits of our County of Cornwall, of their zeal for our Crown, in a time when we could Contribute fo little to our own defence, or to their affiftance. In a time when not only no Relief appeard, but great & Probable dangers were threatned to Obedience & Loyalty, of their great & Eminent courage & patience, in indefatigable Perficutions, of their great work againft fo potent an Enemy, backt with fo ftrong rich & populous Cities. & fo plentifully furnifh with men, & arms, ammunition, & money, & provifions of all forts. & of Ye wonderfull fucceff, it hath pleafed Allmighty God, through with Ye loff of fome great & eminent perfons, who fhall never be forgotten by us. to reward their Loyalty & patience, by many ftrange Victory's. over their & our enemies, in defpite of all human probability & all imaginable difadvantages, as we can not be forgetful, of fo great deferts, fo we can not but ever publifh to all Ye world, & perpetuate to all times Ye Memory of their Merits, & of our Acceptance of Ye fame & to that end, we do hereby render our Royal thanks to that our County in a moft publick & lafting manner, we devife. Commanding copies, here to be printed & publifhed & one of them read in every Church & Chappel, & to be keept & erected in the fame, that as long as the hiftory of thefe Times & of this Nation, fhall continue. Ye memory of how much that County hath merited from us & our Crown, may be delivered with it to pofterity".

Given at our camp at Sudly Caftle  

September the 10th 1643

 


  Every church in 'loyal' Cornwall had and still has the right to display a copy of this letter and many still do, including St Swithins at Launcells, with a proudly framed and well displayed reminder of its not so distant past hanging on the wall of the church adjacent to the organ.


  Cornishmen are both devoted and proud men, so after Charles II's Restoration, examples of this letter were often painted on boards and like

St Swithins variant, directly onto the plastered church walls, occupying prominent places in many Cornish churches.

No different then was this great Cornish convention at Launcells.

 

 

Men of Launcells

Launcells men in support of the Royalists - Battle of Stratton

 

 n the beginning of March 1641, near 200 men like those above would have gathered at St Swithin's church at Launcells to listen to their vicar (William) Thomas Warmington. Many of them would have had to stand outside and wait their turn to sign their allegiance to the protestant church and thus to their King.

 Reverend Warmington would have likely said these words, reading from the protestation declaration each man in turn had been called to sign.

 

"  Ye good men of Launcells , do ye in the presence of Almighty God, promise, vow and protest to maintain and defend, as far as lawfully you may, and with your Life, Power and Estate, the true reformed Protestant Religion."

 

 Each Launcells man in turn who was in agreement with this proclamation then signed, or more usually made his mark by the side of his name, witnessed by the vicar and the other officials present. Each would testify that the oath had been taken, or refused.

Many in the nation, still of the Roman  Catholic persuasion did not put their hand nor their will to it. Few men hereabouts would dare not to.

 These long gone men of the parish who are listed below, likely did and irrespective of their status in the hamlet. Man or boy, pauper or the redeemed and revered.

The question is, how many of these men were true to their pledge and in a matter of just a year would be defending Cornwall from the wrath of the Roundheads?

That in itself is a very good question.

Records simply do not exist of those good men and true who fought at the Battle of Stamford hill, just a few miles distant for the freedom of Cornwall, nor of any who gave their lives for the cause.

 

 

Jacob

AISHTON

James

AISHTON

Barnard

ARNOLL

John

ARNOLL

John

BALL

Jeram

BARRYE

Oliver

BERNELL ?

Robert

BOLITHA

John

BOTELER

PhiHipp

BOTELER

George

BOWLES

John

BROCKE

Richard

BROCKE

Josias

BROELL

William

BROMELL, jun

Mathew

BROWNE

Abraham

BURNBERIE

John

BURNBERIE

Phillip

CALLACOTT

William

CHAPMAN

Thomas

CLIFFORD

John

CROSMAN

Andrew

EARELL

William

EARELL

Clement

GIFFORD

Joell

GIFFORD

Roger

HAYMAN

John

HEAMAN

John

HEARD

Philip

HEARD

Alexander

HEARDE

Phillip

HICTS ?

John

HILLSDON

John

HOLLMAN

William

JAMES

Peter

JOHNS

John

KINSMAN

Edmond

LANE

John

LARKE

Symon

LARKE

Edward

LUSSCOM ?

Alexander

MABIN

Richard

MABYN

James

MERCER

John

METHERELL

John

MILL

Thomas

MILL

John

MILL, jun

Richard

MILLTON

John

MOOER

Adm

NICOLL

Richard

PADDON

Thomas

PAINTER

Thomas

PARKE ?

Richard

PEARCE

John

PERIN

Thomas

PERIN

Richard

PERRIE

Lawrenc

PITTON

Richard

PORTER

Joseph

RAWLEIGH

Hugh

RUSSELL

Thomas

SANGWEN

John

SHERME

Richard

BABBE

Bartholomew

BALHATCHET

William

BALL

Tristram

BAYLIE

Richard

BAYLIE

Degory

BAYLY

Richard

BAYLY

Henri

BICKELL

Phillipp

BOTELER

Gregorye

BOXE

John

BRADDON

Richard

BRADDON, jun

William

BRADON

Richard

BRADON

William

BROMELL, sen

Leonard

BROWNE

Richard

CALLWAY

Frances

COLACOT

John

CORIE

Samuell

CORY

Richard

CROCKER

Peter

DANGER

Phillip

DERWORTHIE

Richard

EARELL

Amos

FURSIER

Methuselah

FUTTS

Thomas

GIFFORD

Thomas

GLIDDON

Jefferi

HACKER

Thomas

HARRYS

Thomas

HAYMAN

Richard

HAYMAN

William

HEARD

Thomas

HEARDE

Thomas

HEARDE

Francis

HEDDON

John

HIGGINS

Nathaniell

JEWELL

James

JEWELL

William

JEWELL

Edward

JEWELL

Philipp

KINSMAN

Richard

KINSMAN

Digory ?

LANGDON

John

LEY

Andrew

MARTIN

Edward

MAYNARD

Christofer

MAYNARD

Christopher

MAYNARD, jun

Richard

MILL

John

MILL

Degori

MILL

John

MOOER, sen

Edward

MOYES

Andrew

MOYSE

Thomas

OLDE

William

OLDE

William

OLDE, SEN

Daniell

OLIVER

Daniell

PAINTER

Degori

PAINTER

John

PEARSE

Christofer

PEDLER

Thomas

POMERIE

John

SHORT

Thomas

SMALE

William

SMALE

Digory

SMALLE

John

SMYTH

Richard

SMYTH

Walter

SMYTH

John

SMYTH, jun

William

SPECCOTT

Richard

SPICER

John

STERE

Degory

SYMONS

John

TACKELL

Thomas

TANKOCKE

Richard

TAYLOR

John

TOCKER

Arthour

TRIMBLE

Azarias

TURNER

John

TURNER

Symon

TURNER

Stephen

VEALE

Richard

VOWLER, sen

Josias

WALLINGE

Richard

WELLESFORD

Hercules

WELLISFORD

John

WELLISFORD

Nicholas

WELLISFORD

John

WELLS

Richard

WELSFORD

William

WELSFORD

Charellman

WHALE

Abraham

WHITE

Thomas

WOLFE

John

WOOD

Edmond

WOODLIE

Richard

WOODLIE

Degorie

PRUST

Peter

RANDELL

Arthur

RUNDELL

Frances

RUSSELL

Abraham

SANGWEN

John

SANGWEN

Richard

SANGWEN

Thomas

SCOTT

Thomas

SHAPLAND

Anthonie

SITTON

Robart

SMALE

Isahac

SMYTH

RenoId

SMYTH

William

SMYTH, sen

John

TANHOUCKE

John

TANROCKE (sic)

Tobias

TOOCKER

Thomas

TOOCKER

John

TOOKER

Richard

VOWLER

Richard

VOWLER

Richard

VOWLER, jun

John

WARMINGTON

Richard

WARMINGTON

Thomas

WARMINGTON

Barnard

WELSFORD

Sammuell

WHERE

Zacharie

WOODE

Richard

YEO

Humphry

YEO

Barnard

YEO

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Medieval Artists of Launcells.

 

 

  aintings of a more conventional type play an important role at Launcells church in Cornwall, with remnants of a huge  17th century wall painting depicting the Genesis story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac still prevalent on one wall, though fading. 

 Interestingly, as the central characters are depicted here dressed in the peculiarly contemporary dress of the Tudor age, it supports the dating of the artists handiwork well. Sadly, there was until recently great deterioration to the work of art at the hands of time, but has been at least halted by meticulous and expensive restoration. However much more work is required and it is a firmly held belief that St. Swithins at Launcells holds many more fine secrets buried somewhere beneath its replastered and often repaired walls. There is evidence of more throughout the church. But the investment needed to uncover them will be vast.



   

Launcells church Cornwall, wall painting

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image credit:© The Royal Institution of Cornwall.

"The Ringers of Launcells Tower"

 < This is an old oil painting inspired by a poem called 'The Ringers of Launcells Tower' by Reverend Hawker of Morwenstow. It was painted in 1887 by the artist Frederick Smallfield, A.R.W.S who was an English painter of genre scenes and a student at the Royal Academy Schools in 1840s.

S. Baring-Gould MA- author of Cornish Characters and Strange Events reminds us that:

"In the Western Counties bell-ringing was a favourite and delightful pastime. Parties of ringers went about from parish to parish and rang on the church bells, very generally for a prize — ''a hat laced with gold."

 At Launcells, where the bells are of superior sweetness, the ringers who rang for the accession of George III rang for that of George IV, there not having been a gap caused by death among them in sixty years.

Quoting from Vol; IV of The Parochial History of Cornwall - Hals and Tonkin, the story Frederick Smallfield illustrates is thus:

 "It seems the identical six men who rang the bells in Launcells tower on the Coronation of King George III, rang them also on the day of his jubilee, having continued the parish ringers during all that time.

 Their names are recorded in the parish, and may there fore be inserted here.

John Lyle, Henry Cadd, Richard Venning, John Ham, John Allin, Richard Hayman.

And of these, John Lyle rang at the accession of King George the Fourth, and of his present Majesty King William IV, being then in his ninety-sixth year : but all are now gathered to their fathers."

 

  The artist visited Launcells from his home in Willesdon in London in 1886 with the blessing of Launcells vicar John Whitmore Black and made copious studies of bell ringers and their movements. Unfortunately he had to work from models for the final product back in the nations capital so sadly, Launcells famous Bell Ringers are not the real gentlemen they represent.

 

 

Did you know that Launcells holds claim to the finest carved bench-ends in Cornwall?

 

 

 

 

 

                                 Part 3

The Treasures of St. Swithin's

 

 ritain's most famous Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjemen is famously quoted in proclaiming his admiration for the lovely Church of St. Swithin at Launcells, once calling it after a visit; "the least spoiled church in Cornwall." A proudly held dedication which has stuck ever since.

Clearly his observations were very well founded. For it is a church by comparison far less cluttered with added embellishments, statuary and memorial monuments raised to the dear departed than most and not a stained glass window in sight. Of course, exactly as intended.

It is as pure and bright as it had originally been designed with much of its original glass intact. But what Sir John failed to remark upon is that

St. Swithin's also holds an even more remarkable secret treasure than its simple beauty.

 

 A visit here reveals row upon row of carved fifteenth century pew ends some 66 in all, each depicting different interpretations of biblical subjects. Ingeniously there is nothing but symbol here and not a trace of a human figure.

No one knows who the ingenious wood carvers were, for the sculpted panels remain unsigned and mysteriously anonymous. Though they are likely local craftsmen who did similar work in other churches nearby.

These ancient bench ends are indeed both unusual and simple in their design, the great hewn panels revealing the secrets of its heart wood to only the inspired medieval carver.

Other commentators have called them 'unrefined', which to a degree I would have to agree with, but they have missed out an additional and important two words here.

They are both absolutely unique and quite, quite beautiful.

 

 

Interior of Launcells Church, St Swithins, Cornwall                  

Interior of Launcells Church, St Swithins, Cornwall. Bedecked for Christmas 2011. Photo courtesy Allan Hillery  ©2012                                        Carved Pew End Launcells Church Cornwall

 

 

 

 any other fine carvings are to be found here at Launcells church.

 Down at the south east end of St. Swithins Church in Launcells are fine examples of intricately carved Jacobean panelling. There is also a Georgian Gothic pulpit and once upon a time, a rood screen, long since dismantled and lost, though the staircase to the rood loft is still intact.

There are parts of the rood screen structure though which seem to have been elaborately painted and decorated, with some that have been reused and incorporated into the pews. Most notably a charming but faded painting on panel of a lily plant forming the back of the pew next to the porch doorway.

 Behind the altar, the Reredos is made of polished marble bearing inscriptions of the Ten Commandments. This was a gift of Sir John Call's architect who had rebuilt Launcells House, (now Launcells Barton and latterly the Vicarage) for Sir John's sister, completely without mishap or accident between 1765 and 1777.  Clearly an expensive offering of great relief and thanks to God when building sites were dangerous places to work.

 

 

 Set against the north wall below the arched windows to the left in the photograph above are good examples of Georgian box pews.

 Prior to the 16th century Reformation, it was not customary to sit down in church, that is unless you were the Squire or Lord of the Manor. It became customary to do so only much later when the congregation were allowed to sit and then only as recompense for listening to lengthy Sermons.

So to maintain status and hierarchy, it divided 'them' from 'those.'

 Box pews like these then allowed for both family privacy where relatives and the invited guests could sit together and were akin to todays status symbols. Private boxes at the theatre or at sporting events.

It was no different here at Launcells, where these private pews were afforded by only the noble and wealthy of the Parish. Unfortunately there is no indication of who sat where in this lovely church but we can guess as some bored adolescents have left us clues.

 

                

 

 

 Another fine treasure this lovely church at Launcells has to offer are the very rare Barnstaple encuaustic tiles which are laid in the nave before the altar. These are in fact inlaid tiles made during the medieval period back in the late 1400's with the colours obtained by using different inlaid types of clay and not by using coloured glazes. The tiles depict Lions, Griffins,Pelicans and flowers and were probably taken up at the reformation for fear of them being destroyed as examples of pagan symbolism. Fortunately  our wise vicar of the day who was probably John Grayne - Felde, vicar of Launcells, St Swithin's from 1533 to 1545. Throughout and during the dramatic events of the times. Clearly he was wise enough and knew only too well of their significance and had the foresight to hide them away, as they were found in the vaults when the old flooring was replaced in 1932.

The photograph below only goes to show just how many devout feet have passed this way before.

 

 

Medieval Barnstaple encaustic tiles, St Swithins church Launcells.

Medieval Barnstaple encaustic tiles, St Swithins church Launcells.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Launcells mystery coat of arms

 

 

  ne mystery that the ancient Church of St. Swithins in Launcells teases us with concerns this great coat of arms. Set into the wall high above the box pews and the old entrance with its stone staircase to the Rood Loft. This is where once the 'Rood Screen,' a decorative barrier separating the 'Chancel,' the space around the altar and the 'Nave' the central approach to the Altar, would have once been fixed.

 Now the word Rood comes from the Saxon word for Cross, so we know that at one time, in the church of St. Swithin in Launcells, such a construction actually existed. Likely with a depiction of Christ crucified atop or a more simple rendition of the crucifix set in its central and most symbolic position high above the congregation.

 

Interior St. Swithin's Church, Launcells Cornwall, Rood loft, Charles II Coat of Arms

Photo ©2012 Jackie Freeman Photography - Bude Cornwall

 

 

  Traditionally the churches congregation was separated from the High Altar itself, which was a holy environment and only one that the  priests had access to, so it had a real and perfectly natural purpose. Creating the border to a sanctuary beyond which only those with direct contact with God may tread, or be invited.

Whether the original Launcells church Rood screen contained too many monastic or iconic symbols for the Reformationalists in Henry's time to tolerate and it was hauled down at the order of the vicar, or whether it simply deteriorated with time and fell down, never to be replaced, we just don't know.

 Interestingly we do have something of a clue buried in 'A History of Cornwall: from the earliest records and traditions ..., found in Volume 2" by Hitchens and Drew dated 1824:

In which the authors tell us that at the time of its writing, there is still the lower part of a screen" on which figures of the apostles are rudely painted." So at least parts of it were still there back then.

Anyway the mystery of the great Coat of Arms is a bit more of a puzzle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part Four:

Charles II Coat of Arms - Launcells Church_- Cornwall

Charles II Coat of Arms - Launcells Church - Cornwall

Photo courtesy Allan Hillery  ©2012  

 

 

 

s we have already seen, Cornishmen were staunch Royalists, supporting their King, Charles the II of England in his defence of the realm against the parliamentary roundheads of Cromwell to the very death.

 Such a magnanimous and demonstrative display of support for the monarch that they loved and all that this feature symbolised, indeed all the  King stood for, was a very powerful symbol to all. Least of all the local congregation.

It is quite clear therefore that the great work itself would have been created at the time of Charles' reign and unlikely erected as a monument to the King after his death in early February 1685.

After all, a newly ascended Monarch, in this case Charles' brother James II succeeded him and was now on the throne of England, so why put up the previous Kings coat of arms after he was gone?

 Local Historians have cogitated and pondered over the years as to who actually made the fabulous coat of arms that hangs in the church at Launcells.  But it must be asked. What really is the correct attribution to the creation of this wonderful work of art? It must be asked.

 

Who then did it?

 

 

 As tradition has it and indeed is generally agreed upon by the Church of England itself, one man's name has been put forward as a candidate for the creation of  it time and time again.

And his name was Michael Chuke, a fine master sculptor who lived locally in Kilkhampton, literally just up the road a pace.

 Here was a fine craftsman indeed and a man whose name had also been linked to similar features, sculptures and carvings created in the west country and that are still hanging in churches throughout Cornwall.

So, put two and two together and it was bound to be him.

 

But there is one problem which emerges from this rather rocky foundation.

 Michael Chuke was born in 1679 and the King dead by the year 1685.

So at any reckoning, if he had any part in carving this marvelous coat of arms of his King, he would have been no older than about five when he did!


 

 

 

                                Great men of Launce

The great men of Launcells

The Great Men of Launcells Cornwall

Sir John Chamond Launcells

Sir John Chamond Launcells

 

Image Sir John Chamond Effigy - Tomb Launcells Parish Church of St. Swithin - Cornwall © 2012 jackie Freeman Photography - Bude.

 

  one and only tomb effigy in Launcells Parish Church is the one of this man, Sir John Chamond, vel de Calvo Monte, a quiet, well educated and distinguished leader of men and of  De Calvo Monte stock.

  A lawyer by trade and a noble Knight of the order of St. John, which was an honour bestowed upon him in Jerusalem by Sir Richard Guildford the Master of the Ordinance in the Royal Household of Henry VII. Sir John Chamond was dubbed Sheriff of Cornwall in 1529. Made Steward of the Priory of Bodmin and fully Knighted by his King on the same day as that of his nephew Richard Grenville, the highly respected English sea captain and explorer.

 Sir John Chamond served both his Monarch and his successor, Henry VIII. For which he was granted both property, land and title of the Manor of Launcells where he resided following his second marriage into the Parish.

To this day, fallow deer, ancestors of those that Sir John Chamond once kept and bred in his private deer park at Launcells Manor , still follow the same paths around the estate and can be seen timidly feeding at dusk and dawn grazing near the banks of the Neet.

Sir John was succeeded by two sons, one each of two marriages depicted in kneeling positions either side of their father on the monument, (previously illustrated) His son John Chamond the Younger also succeeded his father as a Knight and Sheriff of Cornwall in his own right.

 

 

Launcells- Barton Cornwall

Launcells Barton Today - Farmhouse. 2 ranges of circa 1600 origin, adjoining block built

between 1765and 1777 by Sir John Call (q.v.Launcells Church) for his sister.

 

 

 


 

 


1793 - 1875

 
 

 

 ir Goldsworthy Gurney is simply put, Cornwall's forgotten genius.

He was a fine engineer and gentleman scientist, far ahead of his time and another great man who is buried at St Swithins church here in Launcells.

Sir Goldsworthy is rightly regarded as one of the leading scientific minds of his age, a brilliant man in his time, or rather, well ahead of his time.

A noted surgeon, prolific inventor, excellent builder and both a scientist and an engineer.

 Sir Goldsworthy Gurney turned his hand to many a role, patenting inventions which were as dramatic an innovative in his day as any today.

Though hardly glamorous, his heating and ventilation systems were in use in both the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, earning him the attention, a national reputation and great the admiration of Queen Victoria who knighted him for his work.

 

                                                                        Goldsworthy Bude Castle

 

 Sir  Goldsworthy Gurney is otherwise best known for inventing easily recognisable sequenced lighting for coastal lighthouses and for the implementation and use of of concrete rafts as foundations for buildings, certainly a world changing invention. Notable locally is the one used for the erection of Bude castle, which was raised and built very successfully and primarily on sand dunes much to the amazement of local Bude based sceptics.

 But sadly, in the end, his patented Horseless steam driven coach got the better of him and he went bankrupt for nearly a quarter of a million pounds. An incredible sum given the time frame. But after all, the poor man was up against other great inventions and more so, more influential inventors of the time, with inventions and developments in which vast amounts of money were being invested. The railways for instance and his own personal investment and if you will, misdirection by taking his eye off the ball, lost him all of his early found fortune.

 

 

Sir Goldsworthy Gurney's grave in Launcells Churchyard

 

 

 


 

 

 

eorge Boughton Kingdon also of Launcells, Esq., was another greatly admired man of Launcells. Deputy-lieutanant of Cornwall and Member of HM Privy Chamber & Magistrate for Devon and Cornwall. He was also the nephew of the Rev. John Kingdon and a highly respected businessman.

In the Parochial History of Cornwall - Hals and Tonkin cite the following entry;

 "Launcells House, a modem building on the spot where formerly stood the residence of the Chamonds, is the seat of George Boughton Kingdon, esq. respected by every one who has the honour of his acquaintance, for scientific and literary acquirements, and esteemed as a benefactor to his neighbourhood in the characters of a magistrate and of a worthy country gentleman."

 In 1837, George Boughton Kingdon played a key role behind the funding and provision of the Royal Bude Life Boat acting readily as chairman of the committee and seeing through the subscriptions funding and its building. Famously quoted upon its arrival and launch in the town;

 "We hope that his humane measure, founded on the true spirit of Christian philanthropy, will save brave British tars from watery graves."

I am sure that it did.

Thank you Mr. Kingdon.

Traditionally then, lots of Magistrates hail from Launcells it would seem!

Here's the story of another, much, much earlier leveller of the law.

 

 

 


 

 

 

  Intriguingly, Launcells already had one individual known by the name Richard of Launcells' House ( also called Richard de Launcell) living here in 1199, even earlier than the monks. So it's pretty clear he took his name from an earlier derivation.

 Now to all intents and purposes our Richard of Launcells House was something of an important figure hereabouts, if not in the Kingdom and got himself into all sorts of wrangles, arguments and inevitably, problems with his near neighbours, all who held or wanted similar status and landshare as he already had..

Usual stuff then , greed, politics, rivalry and jealousy, result = calamity!

 

 The stoiry goes that sometime after King Richard Ist death and the coronation of next in line, good King John, it would seem that our Richard of Launcells House suffered a violent assault here in the hamlet in North Cornwall,. That is, both in person and by the physical invasion of his property at Launcells, now Launcells Barton. But Richard certainly knew his attackers, or at least of those who were the attackers employers and he filed law suits against a number of individuals personally, in days when police were not even imagined.

Here is the storyof Richard de Launcells in some detail according to those early court records, ie; the rolls and accounts;

 

...A whole group of gentry from a wide area of the south-western counties broke in ( to Launcells House) and violently took various items of value, going so far as to pull rings off their owners' fingers.

Robbery was not their main purpose. Once they were in control of the scene, they compelled Richard of Launcells to make them a

solemn promise. That he would surrender to their lord, one Henry f. William, at his house on a given day.

Richard was also to travel there on a nag, selected Richard later alleged, specifically to dishonour him.

 

  By the spring, Richard of Launcells House had all sorts of appeals lodged with the Royal Courts of England accusing a number of his old enemies by name of the crime. Clearly some of the accused were of the opinion that should they show up to answer the charges then they might be for the gallows, so they didn't bother. This now made them outlaws and they were to be tracked down at cost.

 The appeal pleadings of others that did show up make it abundantly clear that behind the incident lay a longstanding enmity involving a substantial portion of the community of the rich and influential in the area and across several county lines.

Bottom line, it was the settling of old political scores.

 

 As to why the King showed so much personal interest in the case probably points to the fact that our Richard of Launcells was a Royal Sherrif himself.

In time a great hoo ha erupted and settlements were made both in and out of court, with duels being fought on behalf of both our plaintiff,  Richard of Launcells and the accused, with  rather unfortunate third parties having to stand in for them.


  Naturally the King did very well out of the awards / fines imposed upon the accused for their part in the attack and indeed our Richard de Launcells was awarded hefty payoffs himself back then, all in all of some £100 pounds which was a fortue, in recompense.

Suffice as to say, it would seem he  had one heck of a job in getting the money out of his enemies and likely never did.

 As to what happened to our Richard of Launcells House afterwards, well I suppose he just got old and departed this life, leaving his wife to sell off her share of Launcells to the Abbey.

A full circle then.

 

 

 

 

 The origins of Launcells name.

 

 

 uch speculation has been offered up as to the origins of the name Launcells, the most prominent if not the most vehement alluding to the name Launcells coming from the paring of the old Cornish term for Holy place and the obvious, a cell of the monks of Hartland (Cellis) which is nice and easy to understand and a perfect if not convenient fit. That's if you want an easy answer to the conundrum.


  However to swallow that offering, it only does fit if you believe the account that in about 1260 AD, Hartland Abbey was involved here with the founding of the name of Launcells. This through the first recorded priest in charge at the church, ie; one Sir Hugh de Moltone, back in 1261.

But, there's aproblem here and that simply cannot be right.

Because records show very clearly that it was already Launcells here and it was called that a long time before even then. In fact it probably dates from at least 700 years earlier than that!

 

 The Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould in his important work called 'The Lives of the Saints' of 1848, has his own theory as to how Launcells got its name.

He writes: 

"Salomon or Selys was the son of Geraint ap Erbin (S. Ervan), and Brother of S. Cyngar.

He was a duke or princeling in Cornwall, and married S. Gwen, sister of S. Non, and by her was father of S. Cybi.

It may be suspected that both Launcells (Llan Selyf) and Lansallos were of his foundation, though in later days, when the Latin Church obtained the mastery, Launcells was dedicated to S. Andrew."

 

  In fact  our Salomon, AKA Selys or St. Levan as he was called in the Celtic language, was more likely a late 5th century Cornish 'warrior prince', and  possibly a King of Cornwall back then. So  the name Launcells could derive simply from the conjoining of his name, Selys linked with Llan.

 

  Cast your mind back apace to the Doomsday and you will remember it was already called LANDSEU as it was known in 1066 and then it somehow became Lancellis by the year 1204. That's near enough sixty years prior to the monks moving in here.

So as far as claiming that the monks were responsible for naming the Parish of Launcells, no way. This one goes way, way back I'm afraid..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Swithins Parish Church of Launcells - North Cornwall

Below right: Inscription on a headstone in Launcells Church Graveyard

Photo ©2012 Jackie Freeman - Bude

St. Swithins Parish Church of Launcells - North Cornwall - England

Photo courtesy Allan Hillery  ©2012

Launcells Church in winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Headstone in Launcells Church Graveyard

 

 

 

 

 

Memorial to the fallen heroes of Launcells 1914-1918

 

 

 

Graves of John Cleverdin Lyle

Graves of  John Cleverdin Lyle and his father

Lt.Colonel John Cleverdon Lyle (Rear)

 

 

 

A Memorial to the fallen heroes of Launcells 1914-1918

 

 

John Thomas Coles: Private. 7th Bn. Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry

KIA 16/08/1917 Passchendaele Ridge, Ypres. Belgium. Age 22.

Son of William and Elizabeth Coles, of Rhude Farm, Launcells, Stratton, Cornwall. Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient.

 

Eli M. Gardener: Trooper Household Battalion. KIA 12.10.1917 Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial. Tyne Cot Memorial is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders - Ypres Passchendaele Ridge.

 

Arthur Gilbert: Corporal. 1st/21st Bn. London Regiment (First Surrey Rifles) KIA  on the advance to Victory in Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and Loos, 24/08/1918 age 23. Son of Mr. W. Gilbert, of "Bursdon," King's Hill, Bude, Cornwall. Commemorated on Panel 10, Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, south-east of Arras in France.

 

H. John Gilbert: Lance Corporal 1st/4th Bn. Hampshire Regiment, Son of John H. and Rhoda Gilbert, of 14, Queen St., Bude, Cornwall. Part of the British Salonika Forces during the Galipoli Campaign. Died 26/01/1919 Rests at the Military Cemetery Kalamaria. Now Thessalonika, Greece.

 

William J Gerry: 10th Bn. Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.

Age 21. KIA on the Somme: 11/03/1917. Buried at Derancourt, France

 

John Owen Jewell: Private: "C" Coy. 23rd Bn. Royal Fusiliers Age 31 KIA on the Somme 27/07/1916

Son of John and Maud Mary Jewell, of Thorn, Launcells, Stratton, Cornwall.

Commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, France - Pier and Face 8 C 9 A &16 A.

 

Samuel Leach: Private:  Devonshire Regiment KIA in Flanders 26/10/1917. Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

 

John Cleverdon Lyle: Captain (Adjutant)  of the Army Service Corps.  66th East Lancs Division. Training. A Civil Servant who also served in the 8th Bn. Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Died on active service 6th December 1916.

{Son of Lt. Col. John Cleverdon Lyle, T.D. (R.A.S.C.), Telegraphy Division Royal Army Service Corpsand Mary Parke Lyle, of Grimscott, Launcells, Cornwall.}

Both Buried at Launcells St. Swithin’s Chruchyard, Cornwall.

 

John Taylor: We have been unable to specifically identify the records for this gentlemen with a clear Launcells connection. If you can assist please contact us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Launcells story continues:

Launcells a country seat.

St Swithin's church Launcells and Laucells Barton ( The site of the old Launcells Manor House)

©2012 Jackie Freeman Photography

 

auncells really does have a charmingly fascinating history and from the census of 1841 we know that it had grown considerably as around 860 people lived in this lovely Cornish Parish.

It's interesting to understand what those individuals of working age actually did for a living too, as it gives us a true insight as to what it was actually like here back then in the days of 'them that have' and 'us that don't!'

 

 Primarily then, all that was here for the people of Launcells to enter into was the farming industry and the obvious option to aim for if you were a fit male with no great ambition to do something else in life. So the majority of young people in Launcells entered into employment locally, either working on the commercial farms run by the wealthy landowners of the time, or on the self contained farms supplying those households itself such as Launcells Barton, (above) Magses and  Grimscott...

 

 The British census  of 1841 tell us that there were all in all 173 Agricultural Labourers living here, with no less than 44 Farmers and 1 Farm Servant.

 Now the females of Launcells, excluding those who had a pretty penny tucked away in their petty coats, opted in the main for household duties and there were plenty of options hereabouts for under stairs, maid duty and scullery work, with the bigger houses and farms to choose from in this Parish built of gentry and nobility.

 So Launcells back then supported 34, female servants and eleven male helping those out. Most likely the men in a butlering or managerial capacity. Interestingly though, no Gamekeepers are mentioned in the census, though undoubtedly there would have been several.

 

 Serving this widespread community, a variety of other trades sprang up as service industries to the Launcells area.

 There were 3 Millers here, no less than  6 Carpenters, a Journeyman  who was a master craftsman but we don’t know of what, a Shopkeeper and 3 Cordwinders or ropemakers. There was also wwo Blacksmiths and a Shoemaker. One Mason, 2 Taylor's, 3 Dressmakers and one female apprentice, a Sadler, the Priest of course, an important man called Richard High Keats Buck. Then there was the Inn Keeper and a maltster.

Now this is interesting as back then the Local Pub is listed as the Hobbacott Down Inn, which was sited in the proximity of the canal.

Worthy of speculation is that it was replaced by the Red Post Inn, the name of which is the subject of a whole other chapter on the area and exactly how it got its name..

 Moving on, there was one yeoman, a Canal Labourer, a 'Mershanery Man,' who could not spell too well (in other words the Mechanic). There was  a blacksmith, naturally, an attorney, eight elderly souls supported by the Union and no less than 5 Paupers in the poor house.

 Not to forget eight independently wealthy people who had no occupation at all to decare but plenty of money in the bank!

Early map Launcells Churchtown C 1800

 

  Although certainly not as built up as it once was, Launcells individuals from the earliest census tell us clearly that they lived both in Launcells Town

( the area around the church which is indicated by an arrow in yellow here) and in West Church Parks at the bottom of the map. Roadsways or tracks linked and circled the whole area back then some 200 years ago..

There seems to be plenty of physical evidence of long demolished workers cottages in the fields around the church near Launcels Barton itself   (the old manor house.) As you can see in this early hand drawn map of 1805 with the Churchtown houses all arrowed in red.

 Interestingly two more properties can be seen on the bottom left, at the end of the lane leading to Launcells church and where now only an old  overgrown path can be found leading from Churchtown Lane ( Lanteglos) and swinging all the way around to Church Park.

Two more houses once stood here at this tiny cross roads.

There was also a cluster of properties where the new rectory now Ravenscourt was to be built and Barton Meadows now stands. That's to the right of the map. And two  or three more properties are indicated to have stood in the lane to the west of Church Park in the centre bottom of the map.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Launcells and Justice

 

 tep out of line in Launcells in King George or Victoria's time and justice as paid out and demanded by the Landed Gentry of Cornwall, would fall upon you like a ton of local granite.

 In the days when the law was there more to protect those that had in Launcells from those that hadn't, the sheriff's purse was sufficient bribery to have anyone in the community point the finger at someone else for pretty well near anything they might be suspicious of.

Jealousy permitted!

So beware; Don't take too much ale or be found sleeping it off under an oak tree, or a night in Stratton clink was on the cards. Or worse!

 For similar misdemeanours and lesser offenders,  much to their great cost they paid dearly.

So for those who had not, who decided to help themselves to whatever it was from those that had, a long bumpy carriage ride to Launceston, Bodmin or Lostwithiel assizes was their reward. The dreadful, Bodmin Bridewell your home for the foreseeable future, picking oakum if you were lucky, a beating and a spell on the treadmill if you were not.

Though we may be amused by the charges as recorded in the Court records of the day and now held at the County Records Ofiice in Truro, and as trumped up as some may seem to us, for those Launcells accused, hell had just dragged them kicking and screaming out of the parish chained in a cart. And this is where they were heading to.

 

 

The Great Bodmin Jail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We speak of justice in these olden times but has the 'in' been left out of the word?

 

What follows are not fiction, nor story or even hearsay. They are real and terrible accounts of the times.

All to terrible and real examples of Cornish justice as handed out to Launcells residents in history and as such, taken in the main from quarter sessions records of the time held in archive. Though some examples may be light heartedly amusing to the reader, others are in fact deadly examples of how the law protected the rich and noble of these parts, far and above the normal human being.

Other stories here, we will never forget

 

Spring of 1199:

  Richard de Launcells attacked at his country seat by cohorts of a Lordly landowner, one Henry S. William.

The gang prised rings off his fingers and threatened his life. Some of the accused were; Hugh de Morton, Thomas of Dunham  and Hugh of Staddon.

14th July 1741:

  Elizabeth Bone of Launcells, aspinster,  was accused of  petty larceny but acquitted. A Lucky lady!

12th July 1743:

  Nicholas Botrell of Launcells, was severally accused of assault and battery to which he confessed: he was fined 1s. and sentenced to remain in custody at Bodmin jail until the next sessions.

15 January 1789:

  Elizabeth Herd and Grace Batten, both of Launcells were convicted of taking one goose, the property of John Martin, a yeoman of Launcells ( who happened to be a local wealthy farmer) Property valued at 2d : Sentence: They got one week's hard labour in Bodmin Gaol - each!

9th October 1783:

  Thomas Hobbs; previously committed to Bodmin bridewell as a rogue and vagabond was passed back to Launcells, his legal place of settlement as they'd had enough of him.

1st of May 1821:

  Richard Vinner [? Venner] of Launcells, a labourer, was indicted for; "unlawfully drawing and extracting three quarts of Milk from an certain cow", property of Joseph Hawkey Esq. ( who happened to be Landed gentry who resided at Launcells House, aka. now Launcells Barton!)

For stealing the milk. But NOT for stealing the cow.......!

Sentence: Six months' hard labour in Bodmin gaol for a glass of milk!

16th October 1821:

  William Ham of Launcells, also a labourer, was indicted for taking an oak hurdle, property of Bude Harbour and Canal Co:

So Bodmin jail for him for stealing a piece of wood for the fire!

13th January 1824:

  Francis Vinson of Launcells, another labourer, was indicted for stealing a pig, value 6d., property of John Lyle: He got three months' hard labour in Bodmin gaol.

Had this been 30 years earlier he would have probably hanged.

 

19th October 1830:

  Elizabeth Hooper, a single woman of Poundstock ; accused George Simmons of Launcells, a pig-drover of being the father of her unborn child.

He too faced the wrath of the Cornish courts and he wouldn't be the last!

15th October 1841

 A jolly old farmer, (who must remain unnamed) approaching to 70 years of age, the father of a family residing in the parish of Launcells, having made the acquaintance of a lady, proposed a walk on the Summer Lane and in his return found himself thirteen pounds lighter in purse, than when he first had the happiness to be introduced to her at the beer-shop, half an hour before. The lady walked off with her spoil without detection.

 

Friday 31st March, 1843

  Mary Jane  Fanstone, aged just 12, was charged with having stolen 18 lbs of hay, the property of Mary and Wm. BROCK, of Launcells. And Edward Fanstone, 40 with having received it, he knowing the same to have been stolen. The evidence presented was weak and her father acquitted.

But that did not save poor Mary Jane though and the court never the less sentenced her to One Month's Hard Labour - the second and last weeks to be passed in solitary confinement. Age Twelve eh?

 

1849 and 1850

  Both the national killer Cholera and Small Pox took a heavy toll in Cornwall and more locally in the Parish during the latter half of 1849 and in the following year, it was primarily with the young and particularly Launcells' infants suffering badly with a spate of infant deaths. With all in all some 30 people that we know of perishing, including both adolescents, young adults and the elderly. Though not all will have come to the end of their lives here in Launcells as a result of contracting those diseases, almost most certainly, many did, as it was avast increase in the mortality rate.

 Interestingly, there are no speculation or record by writers of anyone from Launcells perishing from the Black death, which decimated Bodmin's population, cutting it by half.

 

 

And lastly something etched deep the minds of of many people of these parts:

 

The day was the 15th of April 1912.

 A young and adventurous William Dennis aged 26 a farmer of Treyeo Farm in Launcells, had been encouraged to emigrate to Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada by his farmer relatives; Lewis Richard 29, and Owen Harris Braund 22 of nearby Bridgerule in Devon, so they could begin a new and better life in the Dominion.

An excited William couldn't wait and bade his parents farewel optimistically embarking on the long trip by rail to Portsmouth, along with his travelling companions; the Braund's, his younger brother Samuel just 22, a farmer also and other close relatives, John Henry Perkin (22 of Ashbury, Devon) and John Henry Lovell (20, of Holsworthy, Devon) all apart from one, an ironmonger were farmers. They were joined by a Miss Susan Webber, aged 37 and a family friend of nearby North Tamerton in Cornwall, who was to visit her brother who had emigrated to Canada earlier, for the first time in years. 

Tragically with his family and friends, William embarked on the Titanic at Southampton on third class ticket.

His body was never recovered.

Lewis Braund front left. Owen Back right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Launcells Today

 

 Launcells today is a spirited Cornish community, with just as important a role being played by its farms and Cornish agriculture as ever.

Milk and meat taking over from the principal staples of fields grain to which the great Bartons and Manors in Launcells history were primarily devoted.
Though it's unspoiled location makes it a prime choice for visitors seeking out the quieter and greener charm of North Cornwall, so tourism now plays a key role in Launcells success too, with investigating holidaymakers discovering its charm by road and by foot in this private Cornish parish.

 

 

Launcells Church of St Swithin, Cornwall

Launcells Church of St Swithin, Cornwall. ©2012 Jackie Freeman Photography Bude

 

 

 Launcells proximity to the major sea-side holiday resort of Bude, which is north Cornwall's biggest and most successful vacation choice, makes Launcells a pleasant diversion from the caravan sites and camp grounds which serve the world class surfing beaches of Bude; Widemouth Bay, Duckpool, Sandymouth and Northcott, all which are just a couple of miles to the west of the Parish.

It is the perfect rural choice too of many who make the good life both permanent and better here. Choosing to make Launcells their first home and not just a short term stopover or holiday cottage environment. And it's surprising how many well known faces you may bump into down here from the glitzy world of music and entertainment, sport and literature.

 

 Though there are plenty of fine guest houses, exclusive bed and breakfast and holiday cottage rental choices in the community for holidaymakers and visitors to seek out, it is still an unspoiled and gentle place.

Yet close by the staggeringly beautiful cliff walks, National Trust properties, Heritage sites and for those inclined, high energy pastimes that so many on vacation endure.

 

 Animals and wild life thrive here too, with timid deer still treading ancient pathways though Launcells woods and meadows. Bird watching enthralls twitchers with the sheer variety of rare and shy varieties that make Luancells and its surrounds their permanent habitat or just a place they visit to rest awhile on their migratory trails elsewhere.

Walking, cycling, golfing, riding and fishing is all to be found nearby and Launcells is certainly a lovely place to see.

Launcells triggers the imagination and rests the soul. But much more importantly, Launcells is a place to experience, understand and share in its history, whilst you listen to its ghosts whisper their secrets, as the ever green time drifts by.

Cornish stone cross Launcells churchyard Cornwall

 

©2012 David Freeman

 

 

 

 

Victorian statuary at Launcells Barton

 

THIS  IS  AN  ONGOING  WORK

SEEKING  OLD   IMAGES   OF   VICARS   OF   LAUNCELLS  Or of the Church in Vintage years.

email:   info (at) jackiefreemanphotography ( dot) com

 

 

 

About the author:

Writer, novelist, historian and broadcaster David Freeman lives within the Parish of Launcells in Cornwall where he specialises primarily in creating historical works, crime and nonfiction. Though his 3 book novel, a historical epic called The Oakum Gate has recently been completed and a new and remarkably revealing book based upon previously unknown events leading up to the 15C Battle of Stratton is now well underway.

 David is a script and story line consultant to the hit American TV series CSI and the BBC television crime series Hustle and many others. He writes Secret Britain and wrote and presented Treasures that Talk for television and Gathering Dust. He is also senior fine art consultant with the ever popular Roadshow in North America.

Other titles;

Policing Picasso, The Sadam Scam, Looking for Leo, The Widows Walk, Bridewell revisited, the great Bodmin Gaol, The Horizontal Boy, Top Secret, RAF Winkleigh, When Paths Cross at Fontainbleau, Mother Cornwall's Legacy and a tongue in cheek History called Strictly come Winkleigh.


 

 

 

Useful Launcells reference information

Chronologically arranged: The Vicars of Launcells St.Swithins Church from 1261 to the present day.

     
1261 -1310 Sir Hugh de Moltone   1661-1682

Samuel Where

1310-1311 Sir Philip de Romelode 1682-1685 Charles Bassett
1310-1311 Sir William de Gosham 1685-1712 Nicolas Orchard
1311-1321 Sir John Umfrey 1712-1749

Thomas Orchard

1321-1349 Sir Robert de Heghen 1749-1750 Christopher Bedford
1349-1350 Sir John de Launcelas 1750-1765 John Score
1350-1362

Sir Walterum De Cola

1765-1776 Cadwallader Jones
1362 -1382 Sir John Nanskelly 1776-1799 Hooper Morrison
1382 -1402 Sir Richard Doty 1799-1825

Thomas Hooper Morrison

1402-1403 Sir John Avery 1825-1832

Henry-Boitrchier Wray Baronet (See  DEBRETT'S BARONETAGE OF ENGLAND.

1403-1435 Sir Richard Madek 1832-1833

Rev Henry Gamble

1435-1444 Sir Baldwin Tybot 1833 – 1839 Henry Alford. Published; Persuasives to a holy life and a preparation for death
1444-1446 Sir Thomas Velya 1839- 1844

Richard High Keats Buck became Rural. Dean, & Rector of St. Dominick, Cornwall and was also an accomplished author.

1446- ? Sir William Leghe 1844-1873

James Richard Whyte

? To 1493 Sir Robert Crame 1873- 1915

John Whitmore Black

1493-1529 John Corke 1915-1931

Charles Walter Houlston

1529- 1530 Sir Thomas Granger 1931-1936

Charles Henry Herbert

1530-1533 Richard Denys 1936-1947 James Richardson
1533-1545 John Grayn-Felde 1947-1957 William Brooks
1545-1557 Sir John Judde 1957-1964

Charles J G Mollan

1557- ? Walter Jewell  1964-1973 Reginald Purrier
? o 1581 Thomas Fuyche 1973-1975

Charles Elliot Wigg became a Cannon

1581-1591 Nicholas Stowell 1975-1978 Eric Hall
1591- 1636 James Wood 1978-1989 Dr. Kenneth W Noakes
1636-1661

(William) Thomas Warmington

1989-1994 Terry C Moore
1994-2007

The Reverend Canon Richard N. Stranack

2007-2011 Father David Standen
    2012-

Reverend David Keith Barnes Priest in Charge

 

 

Working Farms:  
Cross Lanes, Launcells, Cornwall Moreton Mill, Launcells, Cornwall
Eastleigh Farm, Launcells, Cornwall Moreton Pound, Launcells, Cornwall
Higher Pigsdon Farm Newleigh Farm, Launcells, Cornwall
Great Moreton, Launcells, Cornwall North Barton, Launcells, Cornwall
Grimscott, Launcells, Cornwall Ossington, Launcells, Cornwall
Launcells Barton, Launcells, Cornwall Prustacott Farm, Launcells, Cornwall
Launcells Cross, Launcells, Cornwall Venn Farm, Launcells.
Little Moreton, Launcells, Cornwall Westleigh Farm, Launcells, Cornwall
Lopthorpe, Launcells, Cornwall  
Magses, Launcells, Cornwall  
Marsh Farm, Launcells, Cornwall  

 

 

 

 

Holding Gallery \Images LAUNCELLS PAGE

Benjamin and Emma-Jane Stainton grave Launcells Cornwall

 

 

 

 

For the the Great Bodmin Goal  - Bridewell Revisited

Full History Click

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                 

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