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Historic England Research Records

Church Of St Morwenna And St John The Baptist

Hob Uid: 32144
Location :
Grid Ref : SS2050515315
Summary : The front, south doorway, part of porch doorway, and 3 bays of north arcade are 12th century, the chancel and 2 bays of north arcade are 13th century, the north aisle wall is 15th century. The south arcade is largely 15th century, although 2 bays are 16th century and the south wall is probably 16th century. The lower stage of the west tower is 15th century, with 16th century upper stages. Restored in the 1870s, the vestry added in 1887, with further restorations in 1904 and 1908. A pre-Conquest font survives.
More information : (SW 20501531) St Morwenna and St John the Baptist's
Church (NAT). (1)

Morwenstow, named Morwestowa in 1201 (2), is listed by Pearce as
a pre-Saxon graveyard. The present church of St Morwenna and St
John the Baptist retains the arcade of the Norman north aisle. In the
15th century a south aisle and tower were added, the Norman south
door being removed to the new wall and its outer arch-ring to the

A Saxon font survives and Henderson suggests that it was its age
at the time of the building of the Norman church was was responsible
for its preservation. (2-5)

1.99 Church of St Morwenna and St John the Baptist


Parish church. Front, south doorway, part of porch doorway, 3 bays
of north arcade C12, chancel and 2 bays of north arcade C13, north
aisle wall C15, south arcade largely C15, 2 bays C16 (dated capital),
south wall probably C16, lower stage of tower C15, upper stages
C16. Restoration 1870s, vestry 1887, further restorations 1904 and
1908. Chancel stone rubble of small dimensions, freestone dressings;
south aisle stone rubble with granite and greenstone dressings; north
aisle stone rubble, freestone dressings; tower dressed stone
brought to course, granite dressings the 2 upper stages and parapet
larger blocks of masonry. South porch stone rubble and polyphant. C12
and C13 arcade local dunstone, C15 arcade polyphant, C16 piers and
arches granite. C19 slate roofs. Plan; west tower, nave, chancel,
5-bay north and south arcades, south porch, north-east vestry.
Important Norman arcade and doorways, some unusually late Gothic
fabric and fittings. Chancel has C19 and C20 set back buttresses with
offsets, coped east gable. East wall lookes rebuilt. 3-light 1870s
steeply-pointed window with hoodmould and carved label stops has
flowing rectilinear tracery with carved floral motifs in place of
cusping. Single C13 lancet windows in north and south sides that to
south look restored. Blocked, pointed, chamfered priest's door on
south wall. Vestry dated 1887 under lean-to roof against north wall
has rectangular winsows with square leaded panes. Lean-to shed
against north wall of north aisle. C19 4-light east window in north
aisle has hoodmould and label stops, no cusping or head tracery.
3 similar 3-light north aisle windows, widely-spaced to allow for
thickness of north arcade columns. 3-light granite window in south
aisle to west of porch, probably C16 of similar design to north aisle
windows. 2 similar larger 4-light greenstone windows to east
of porch in south aisle, probably C19 on pattern of C16 windows.
East gable of south aisle looks rebuilt above string course which
rises to form hoodmould of east window which has been repaired as
4 simple granite mullioned lights. West ends of aisles, facing
seawards, windowless and rendered. Unbuttressed 3-stage west tower
imposing in landscape with long and short granite quoins, moulded
strings and granite coping to merlons and embrasures of
battlementing. Tall corner pinnacles with crocketted finials. No
belfry opening in west wall, north west internal stair turret. Lower
stage of tower probably C15, reference in 1550 to "ffynysshing of
the towre" probably refers to upper stages. Heavily-moulded granite
string above tower plinth, shallow-moulded, arched west door with
hoodmould and carved label stops. Chamfered ogee-headed opening
on south wall at bell-ringing stage. North, south and east wide
2-light belfry openings with slate louvres below blind head tracery.
String below parapet has triple head moulding, gabled south porch has
heavy coping and pairs of C12 corbels used as kneelers. Porch
surmounted by carved Agnus Dei and 2 dragons. Porch doorway consists
of re-used outer order of C12 moulding from C12 south doorway, being
a round-headed arch of polyphant zig-zag carving below an order of
flowers carved in heavy relief. C18 slate sundial on porch gable.
Steps down into porch which has C20 diagonal boarded roof. Present
south doorway consists of remainder of C12 doorway reset (q.v.
Kilkhampton) minus outer order of carving, for which the
colonnettes remain. Inner order consists of beakheads, zig-zags
carved on soffit. Present outer order of zig-zags with zig-zags
carved on soffit. Birds and pine cones carved on capitals. C19 door.
Interior. Important Norman north arcade, the respond of the
westernmost bay against a short section of wall running east/west.
Dunstone ashlar columns, 2 with cushion capitals, 1 with capital
carved with zig-zags, support round-headed arches. Westernmost
arch unchamfered double arch, some C12 carvings at apex and either
side. Next arch to east has 3 orders of carving, including
beakheads, zig-zags and graduated pellets. Carved rams head projects
from spandrel. 2nd arch from the west also richly-moulded with
orders of decorative and sculptural zig-zags. At the east this
arch springs from a rectangular pier with engaged shafts to west
and east. 2 easternmost bays Transitional with pointed
double-chamfered arches. South arcade has 3 Perpendicular polyphant
bays to the west and polyphant east wall respond. Piers of cavettos
between 4 shafts (Pevsner Type A) with crested capitals with
fleurons and deeply-moulded arches. The remainder of the arcade in
granite with piers of similar section, less ornate capitals, one
dated 1564, another with text carved upside down and back to
front. Roofs throughout Perpendicular waggons now unceiled with
flat bosses and fleurons carved on ribs and principals. Wall plates
vine-carved with carved angels. Chancel bosses carved and of higher
quality. Colouring of chancel roof restored 1934. No chancel arch.
Granite tower arch springs high from capitals on moulded, engaged
shafts. Complete set of fixed benches with carved rectangular ends,
bases largely original including carved rails against north and
south walls. Benches have moulded rails, ends have gothic tracery
above Renaissance arabesques. One end has "T.K." for Thomas
Kempthorne, vicar from 1539-1594, another is carved with inscription
and date of 1575. Small, primitive C12 or possibly earlier font with
cable moulding round centre and remains of carving below. Font stands
on plinth partly made up of moulded stone with carved fleurons,
possibly remains of tomb. Pulpit is a 3-sided C20 drum incorporating
some earlier woodwork as blind tracery. Chancel screen initially
constructed by Hawker, removed, and then replaced 1908, is made up
of fragments of C16 and C17 carving, including some fine vine
carving with birds and animals. Metal tracery is screen dates from
Hawker's design. Large reredos in chancel designed by E H Sedding
in 1908, carved by the Pinwill sisters of Plymouth. Reredos
contains cartoon by Giovanni Battista Piazzetta (1683-1754) and 3
engravings by John Baptist-Jackson (1701-1780). Piscina in south
wall. Fragment of late C15/early C16 mural painting in north wall.
Fragment of carving, probably C16 fixed to south chancel wall
consists of profile head, dove and dragon. Slate memorial to John
Ley, alias Kempthorne, died 1591, fixed to east wall of north
aisle. Demi-figure and armorial bearings incised within border
inscription. Slate memorial on west wall of south aisle to Grace
Croyndon, died 1731 with arms, knotted drapery and winged skull
carved in relief, some ancient colour surviving. Hawker memorial
window by Lavers and Westlake, erected 1904 in south aisle
illustrates Hawker and his dog, the church and various features in
Morwenstow associated with Hawker. Large slate memorial to Hawker's
first wife, Charlotte, died 1863 in floor beside pulpit. C17
communion table at west end. 3 chest tombs adjoin exterior south wall
of south aisle, 1 chest tomb adjoins exterior east wall of south
aisle. The church was restored in the 1850s under Hawker's direction,
box pews removed, wooden shingles on roof replaced. R S Hawker,
the poet and antiquary, was vicar of Morwenstow from 1835 to 1874.
Further 1870s restoration probably by J.P. St Aubyn. Early C20
restorations. Slate figure of John Ley illustrated in A C Bizley, The
Slate Figures of Cornwall. (Marazion and Penzance), 1965, 0.116.
E W F Tomlin, The Church of St Morwenna and John the Baptist,
Morwenstow, Cornwall (Bude) 1982

1/103 Manning Chest Timb about 17 metres south of the chancel of
the Church of St Morwenna

Chest tomb. Early C17, commemorating John Manning, died 1601.
Granite. Narrow chest tomb raised on moulded granite step on
rectangular granite base. Renaissance style. Chest has chamfered
plinth and granite corner shafts on bulbous feet, cyma recta
moulded granite lid. Inscription in large capitals without
serifs is carved in relief on side panels and reads across the
panels: "Here lieth John Manning of Stamberie Gen(t) who died
without issue the VI day of August 1601". The initials of John
Manning and his wife appear at Stanbury Manor (q.v.). The Manning
tomb is illustrated in the Hawker memorial window in the church
(q.v.) The Reverend R S Hawker (q.v. vicarage and church), poet,
antiquary and vicar of Morwenstow 1835-1874, constructed a typically
dramatic story about the tomb which he presented as fact in
Footprints of Former Men in Far Cornwall (1870).

1/107 Stile, lychgate and former mortuary adjoining lychgate at
south about 20m south-east of the Church of St Morwenna

Stile, lychgate and small stone building, formerly used as
mortuary. Early C19 stile, probably designed by the Rev. R S Hawker.
Lychgate C17 origins, rebuilt C18, former mortuary C19. Stile
freestone ashlar and slate, lychgate timber with slate roof, former
mortuary stone rubble with slate roof with gabled ends. Stile of
single slate raised on edge on 3 stone steps between low freestone
walls. South wall of stile adjoins lych gate. Slate roof of lych
gate has gabled ends and is carried on timber posts. Rough
horizontal planking in gables, probably late C17 curved timber
struts to inner side of gables. Central timber post under lych gate;
C19 timber pedestrian gates on either side of the post have scissor
bracing between upper and lower rails. Simple timber verticals
project above the upper rail as finials. Pitched stone paving
between posts of lychgate. Former mortuary, now used as store,
adjoins the lych gate at the south. Mortuary has east and west
gabled ends, east gable end chimney and entrance at east. Small
6-pane timber window on north side. Lych gate was first erected in
1641 and extensively repaired in 1738. In the time of the Reverend
R S Hawker (q.v. church and vicarage), poet, antiquary and vicar of
Morwenstow from 1835-1874, the mortuary was used for laying out
the corpses of drowned sailors, E W F Tomlin, The Church of St
Morwenna and John the Baptist, Morwenstow, Cornwall (Bude),
1982. p.6. (6)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source :
Source details : OS 6" 1963
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Source Number : 2
Source :
Source details : Place Names of Corn MS 1948 18 (J E Gover)
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Source Number : 3
Source :
Source details : Kingdom of Dumnonia 1978 180 (S M Pearce)
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Source Number : 4
Source :
Source details : Cornish Churches Guide 1963 146 (C Henderson)
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Source Number : 5
Source :
Source details : DOE (HHR) Stratton RD July 1959 4
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Source Number : 6
Source :
Source details : DOE (HHR) Dist of North Cornwall, Corn, Sept 1985, 105-106, 108, 110.
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Early Medieval
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 871
Monument Type : Church, Cemetery, Font, Structure
Evidence : Conjectural Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : C12
Monument End Date : 1199
Monument Start Date : 1100
Monument Type : Parish Church
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Altered
Monument End Date : 1399
Monument Start Date : 1300
Monument Type : Parish Church
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Altered
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1400
Monument Type : Parish Church
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Restored
Monument End Date : 1879
Monument Start Date : 1870
Monument Type : Parish Church
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Vestry added
Monument End Date : 1887
Monument Start Date : 1887
Monument Type : Parish Church
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : Restored
Monument End Date : 1908
Monument Start Date : 1904
Monument Type : Parish Church
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1141774
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 64904
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 21 NW 18
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :