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St Anthony-in-Roseland

St Anthony is a good example of a medieval church situated at the head of a creek, its waterside location essential for communication and the transport of heavy materials in the medieval period, like most pre-Reformation churches in Cornwall.

The church is set in an idyllic location but at the head of a short creek off the Percuil river opposite the former fishing village of St Mawes. However, except for its spire, the church is hidden from views from the water by Place House that is designed to resemble a French chateau. It is also hidden from any other distant views by woodland that grows right up to the building.

The parish church was dedicated to St Antonius by Walter Bronescombe, Bishop of Exeter, in 1259, replacing an earlier Norman Church built about 1150. By 1860, the church had become dilapidated and was rebuilt and restored.

This church originally consisted of chancel, nave and transepts, with a central tower, supported on four acutely pointed arches.  The chancel has never been rebuilt, so the church had become in the shape of the letter "T". 

Except for the re-used Norman south doorway, the rededication date of 1259 is the likely date of the crossing tower and the north transept, the remainder of the church rebuilt in 1850, incorporating some 13th century features, by the Rev. Clement Winstanley Carlyon.

The church is built from local slate-stone with freestone and elvan (greenstone) dressings to the earlier parts and as re-used features, and granite dressings and freestone to the 1850 work. The roofs are dry-laid Delabole slate with glazing at the ridges of the nave, chancel and transepts and with light transmitted into the spire via lucarnes.

The interior of the church is unusually well-lit due to the glazing that flanks the ridges and via the lucarnes in the tower. Except for the exposed stone of the original 13th century crossing arches the walls are plastered.

The floors between the pews are tiled with red, black and cream glazed tiles. The windows are glazed with both coloured and plain glass in interlaced and roundel designs with margin glazing.

The church is now redundant and in the exemplary care of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Content generated during research for the paperback book 'Cornwall and the Cross: Christianity 500-1560' (ISBN 978-1-86077-468-3) for the England's Past for Everyone series