Launceston St Thomas church

Launceston St Thomas

From the outside, St Thomas appears rather modern but it dates back to a time when there was a large priory beside the River Kensey. It stands alongside a lovely footbridge, much enjoyed by ducks, on the main (and steep) route between the churches of Launceston (St Mary Magdalene) and Lanstephan (St Stephen).

The priory was swept away by the Reformation and its foundations were further destroyed when a railway line was built through part of the site.

launceston-st-06Now, all that remains is a small excavated area corresponding to the original tower crossing/chancel steps. There are echoes of the priory around St Thomas including, we are told, the largest font in Cornwall.

Sadly the interior was not visible when we visited as the church was locked with no sign of where the key might be obtained. From the outside, we suggest it has a simple three aisle layout with a north transept.

As light relief for our disappointment, we noted the fine slate memorial to Charity Best (d1789 aged 55 years) which bore the epitaph:

With patient fortitude of soul
She meekly dragg’d the mortal chain:
And struggled towards the heavenly goal.
Through seas of consecrated pain
Till weary of her sore distress
She calmly dropt the heavy load:
Obtain’d through grace, a sweet release
And landed in the arms of God.

Rhyming ‘load’ and ‘God’ seemed to be pushing things a tiny bit.


A journey through the landscape and history of Cornwall