Crowan Parish Church Free Space page

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Location: Crowan, Cornwall, Englandmap
Surnames/tags: Crowan Cornwall Cemeteries
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A free space page dedicated to the Crowan Parish Church - St Crewenna's

For the free space page for the Cemetery see Crowan Church Cemetery Free Space Page

The parish church is dedicated to St Crewenna and is built of granite.The church building dates from the 15th century but was substantially restored in 1872. There are numerous monuments to members of the St Aubyn family.

A pdf copy of the church history is available on the Crowan Church website. See the History of Crowan Parish Church compiled and written by Rev. Robert F. Law. What is below has been paraphrased from that history.

Local tradition has it that St Crewenna brought the gospel to this part of Cornwall, from Ireland and it is believed that some kind of oratory was built in those early times. There seems to have been a more permanent church building from the 12th Century and through to the Middle Ages. The plan and construction of the building is not known.

From 1238 until the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Tewkesbury Abbey appointed the priests of Crowan.

The connection with the St Aubyn family seems to date from the 1400's, when Geoffrey St Aubyn married Elizabeth Kymyell of Clowance.

The church, as part of the lands of Tewkesbury Abbey, fell to the Crown in 1539. The patronage was purchased from Henry VIII by the Sheriff of Cornwall, Thomas Seyntaubyn, Esq, in 1546. The parish was reported to be well off at that time, and possessed of many items of silver. The St Aubyn family kept the patronage of the Church until 1989.

In Tudor and Stuart times the St Aubyn family were very influential in Cornwall and Devon.

In 1745 there were 140 families living in the Parish, one reported to be a Quaker. John Wesley preached at Crowan that same year. Communicants dropped from 200 in 1745 to 25 in 1812. The Vicar in 1812 looked after more than one parish, and no longer lived in Crowan. While a Sunday School and a Daily School run at Crowan, there was competition from the Methodists. The church only held Communion 5 times in 1821. The Church was going through a bad time financially, and the building and amenities fell into disrepair.

With the arrival of Rev J W Johns in 1844 as Vicar, effort was made to improve the condition of the Church. Comparisons with plans of 1830 and drawings done in the intervening years show a number of changes to the building. By 1860 most of the interior work had been completed, and a committee for further restoration work was formed in 1862. Heating systems were designed and installed in the early 1870's. Until this restoration, there was a mausoleum to the north of the Church for the St Aubyn family. It was taken down, and there is now only a vault there.

The Church was reopened for services on St James Day 25 July 1872.

Stained glass windows were installed in the latter decades of the 19th Century and in the early 20th Century. The Memorial Window,which has St Crewenna at the centre, was erected and dedicated to those who fell in World War I. The Bell Tower interior, including the bell fittings for the six existing bells, was repaired in 1896. The old floor and beams were taken out and there is now a stone spiral staircase up to the roof (about 70 feet from ground level) from the vestry. The bell-ringers chamber has a painting on wood associated with the funeral of Sir John, the 5th Baronet whose body was brought to Clowance in August 1839.

The clock on the Bell Tower is to the memory of Rev St Aubyn Hender Molesworth St Aubyn, 12th Baronet of Pencarrow, who died in 1913. It was installed in 1921. Two additional bells were installed in the Bell tower in 1939.

Electricity was installed in about 1950. Overhead heating was added in 1972. A lightning conductor was installed in 1974 and the church was re-wired in 1985.


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Categories: Crowan, Cornwall