Churches Project no. 7 – St Swithin, Launcells, Cornwall
It’s been a little while since I posted an entry relating to my Churches Project. This is partly because I have spent a lot of my spare time recently processing and then posting images which were taken in Snowdonia. But it’s mainly down to the fact that I just haven’t found the time to visit and photograph any new churches!
This church is St Swithin in Launcells, Cornwall. It is an unspoilt country church dating back to the 15th Century, set in a wooded valley just inland from the coastal town of Bude and only a few miles from the Devon border.
Sometimes when I visit a church for the first time a particular feature strikes me above all others and this was certainly the case when I visited St Swithin. As I set foot through the main door my eye was instantly drawn to all the Tudor pews and their quite remarkable carved bench ends. The first and last pews are also carved on the front and back respectively, whilst the other rows are all decorated at each end. They are all different and depict a variety of biblical stories. I didn’t have the time, but many an hour could be spent trying to interpret each set of carvings. Sir John Betjeman described them as being the ‘finest bench ends in Cornwall’ and who I am I to argue with that.
The other fine feature was the old and well used Bible which perhaps unusually was illustrated with some fine drawings. The good book was open at the Gospel of Mark and the picture shows Christ ‘giving sight to the blind’.
Oh how wonderful it is to have vision, not to look in to the future but to be blessed with sight – to see and appreciate things in the present moment. To be able to witness and admire at the first hand the fine craftsmanship of those people, who back in the 15th and 16th Centuries used their skills to create something which some 500 years later can still be enjoyed today.