Ruan Lanihorne church

Ruan Lanihorne 23St Rumon stands in the middle of the charming and well-maintained village of Ruan Lanihorne, close to the modern limit of navigation of the Fal. It stands on a platform which would once have been the lan, or holy place, of the village’s name

The C13 (Pevsner) or C14 (Henderson) tower is simple, of one stage with massive low buttresses, standing rather more vertical than the North aisle chimney.

Ruan Lanihorne 03Inside, the church is light and airy with a nave, North aisle and a South transept. A ‘sympathetic restoration’ by Edward Sedding in 1866 has retained some features of the original church.

The unavoidable first impression is of the ‘tortoise’ stove: a large cast-iron contraption immortalised by Betjeman ‘The bells of Advent ring, / The Tortoise stove is lit again / And lamp-oil light across the night /Has caught the streaks of winter rain /In many a stained-glass window sheen / From Crimson Lake to Hooker’s Green.’ (Christmas).

Ruan Lanihorne 04This is a  Portway stove which, we are assured has slow but sure combustion and must have burned many an exposed finger.

The walls are adorned with almost childish versions of the Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer which were no doubt teaching aids probably C19. A plaque to a benefactor reports the bequest of £200 ‘with the Pious Design of promoting the religious Education of the Children of the Parish’ in return for ‘keeping in Repair a certain Tomb on the north side of the ChurchYard.’

Ruan Lanihorne 22Sedding’s work included the re-use of C16 bench-ends to create a pulpit, and some roof timbers for the lectern and font cover. He also re-used wood for the altar table. Less clear is why he decided to install shields showing the arms of Oxford and Cambridge Colleges in the roof. One can argue long and hard about which was included and why; whether there is significance that the Oxford University arms are in the nave and Cambridge’s in the side aisle.

In the churchyard is an unusual enormous Anderson shelter-sized tomb. A short distance away, on private land, is the holy well of St Rumon. There are no remains of the castle but parts of its shape can just about be traced from existing paths and boundaries.

  • C13 effigy of a priest whose epitaph asks that ‘Light eternal shine on him’ – and it does
  • C14 square font
  • Major re-build in 1699 (date over the porch), re-using earlier windows
  • Sundial 1743
  • A lovely modern tapestry of the parish
  • More on the Cornish Historic Churches Trust website

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