St Manacca, Manaccan, Cornwall

Feature Sets (3)


The church of St. Manacca is sited at the centre of the village within its raised and wooded churchyard or lann. The church dates to the 12th and 15thC and was probably cruciform originally. Considerable parts of the 12thC chancel, south transept and south wall of the nave remain today. The most important feature from this period is the south doorway. A Romanesque pier with a chamfered leading edge is exposed at the angle of the chancel and south transept.


Manaccan first occurs in a charter of King Edgar, dated 967, where it is called Lesmanoc – Place of the Monks – suggesting perhaps that it was originally a Celtic monastery. The church seems to have been known as a Minster down to the time of Henry VI. 


Exterior Features


S doorway

The doorway has three orders. The jambs and (restored) imposts are part of the Norman build, but the arch, with its curious fluted voussoirs, has been remodelled.

First order:

This has damaged plinths and bases, nook shafts, scalloped capitals with plain neckings and square and chamfered imposts, possibly replacements. The label is mostly lost, except on the far right-hand side. The fluted voussoirs terminate in an angle roll at the leading edge.

Second order:

This repeats the elements of the first order.

Third order

This again repeats the elements of the first and second orders, but above the capitals--which now lack imposts--is an arch of plain voussoirs with a chamfered leading edge. Above the arch  is a reset corbel and cross, both roughly carved or damaged. 

Height of capitals 0.25 m
Height to top of arch 0.261 m
Height to top of capitals 0.183 m
Internal width between jambs 0.92 m
Overall width of arch 0.208 m
Width of jambs 0.35 m

Interior Features

Chamfered pier at the angle of the squint

A Romanesque pier with a chamfered leading edge and pyramid stops is exposed at the angle of the squint between the chancel and south transept. 


Height (exposed) 135 cm
Width (exposed) 20 cm


Manaccan is one of the Meneage parishes, which form part of the Lizard peninsula. Meneage may mean 'Monkish land'; other parishes in the Meneage are St. Anthony, St. Keverne, St. Mawgan and St. Martin. The name Manaccan probably means Monk’s Church, as Managh means monk in the Cornish language. St Manacca is given as the patron saint in 1308, and the invention of the saint may date from that period. (Orme, 2000, 22)  

An unusual feature of the church is a very large fig tree, thought to be over 200 years old, growing out of the rubble in the centre of the Romanesque south-west wall.

The church was extensively restored at the end of the 19thC, when the roofs had to be replaced, although attempts were made to imitate the original work. The south porch, said to be of a later date than the church and poorly constructed, was removed as part of the restoration programme, thus opening up the view of the south doorway.


  • Historic England listed building number 1328590:  accessed 22 July 2016.

  • P. Beacham and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England – Cornwall (New Haven and London, 2014).

  • J. Betjeman, Cornwall – A Shell Guide (London, 1964)

  • C. Henderson, The Cornish Church Guide and Parochial History of Cornwall (Truro, 1925).

  • The Parish Church of Manaccan, Our History. Church guide. (Purchased 2015)

  • N. Orme, The Saints of Cornwall (Oxford, 2000).

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England - Cornwall (Harmondsworth, 1951).

  • E. H. Sedding, Norman Architecture in Cornwall, (London, 1909).


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SW 763 250 
now: Cornwall
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Cornwall
medieval: Exeter
now: Truro
now: St Manacca
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Report authors
Andrew Beard 
Visit Date
22 September 2015