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English Church Architecture -



LANHYDROCK, St. Hydroc (SX 085 637)     (October 2010)

 (Bedrock:  Lower Devonian, Meadfoot Group)


Absolutely nothing whatever appears to be known about St. Hydroc beyond a tradition that he lived in the fifth century.  The building dedicated to him here (shown left, from the east) stands immediately behind Lanhydrock House and, like the house, is now at the centre of a large National Trust estate.  The church consists of a nave and chancel without structural division, independently-gabled aisles extending to within three feet (1 m.) of the chancel E. wall, a W. tower rising in three unbuttressed stages, and a windowless S. porch, and is almost wholly late Perpendicular in style, with mainly uncusped three-light windows with alternate tracery, and four-bay aisle arcades composed of four-centred arches bearing two quadrant mouldings separated by a hollow, springing from piers of the characteristic four-shafts-separated-by-four-hollows section, with polygonal capitals to the shafts only.  The tower has three-light bell-openings, battlements, and pinnacles at the angles.  The date of all of this could be the late fifteenth century, though Pevsner suggested the window traceries might be seventeenth century Perpendicular imitations.  The S. aisle W. window, formed of three uncusped lights beneath a square head, may be associated with the inscribed stone above, which bears the date 1756.  The three-light chancel E. window with strong mullions separating cinquefoil-cusped ogee lights and a sexfoil in the head, is probably Victorian.  The four-centred outer doorway to the porch carries two quadrant mouldings resting on slight capitals, but the porch's most interesting feature is its well-preserved wagon roof (illustrated right), with moulded wall plates, a moulded ridge piece, moulded purlins at the halfway stage, and carved bosses where these intersect with the principal ribs.  The four-centred inner doorway carries a simple wave.  


Inside the church, the S. windows to the S. aisle can be seen to be set in rere-arches, rising from the floor.  Each has an order of side-shafts with capitals, as the E. window rere-arch does also, although these rise from a splay about four feet (1.2 m.) from the ground. The N. windows to the N. aisle have sills at the same level and somewhat wider side-shafts supporting hollow-chamfered mouldings above. All these are covered in plaster - a material which is also responsible for the mouldings in shallow relief above the westernmost and easternmost windows, and the for the Royal Arms of James I between them on the N. wall.  The tower arch is thick, steeply-pointed, and composed of a single unmoulded order resting on abaci with chamfered under-edges.


Finally, the building contains a couple of wall monuments worthy of brief mention, of which one, in the S. aisle, commemorates George Carminow (d. 1609), probably pronounced "care-mine-owe" as the long inscription carved in slate includes the pun, "The care of mine I owe to Carminow".  (See Extinct Cornish Families by W.C. Wade, 1891, available on the web.) The other, in the N. aisle is dedicated to Lady Essex Speccott (d. 1689) and features black Corinthian columns on either side, a putto and two lions beneath, and an open and broken segmental pediment above, enclosing an achievement.   (See the photograph, left.)