Originally a chapel of ease to its mother church of St Stephen, St Thomas's church lies midway between St Stephen's and Launceston. The church is built predominantly in the Perpendicular style. The Romanesque features of the church are a large font, a tympanum and a crude figure panel.
The date of the foundation of the church is unknown because it is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey but Henderson states that it "witnessed both the rise and fall of its great neighbour", the Priory. The chapel may have thus pre-dated both the new Priory (1126) and Launceston Castle chapel (1136). The cemetery was consecrated by Bishop Grandisson on November 6, 1333 'in Prioratu de Launceston'. Sometime afterwards the church became parochial, which it remains, the parish being within the borough of Launceston.
Of greenish stone, L of outer door of S porch. Carved on the R of the block is a crude standing figure seen frontally, with disproportionately large head, hands clasped before his stomach and legs truncated at the knees by the lower edge of the stone. The figure, severely battered and defaced, is known locally as the "Imp". Very primitive 11thc - 12thc work.
Of Hardwick stone, reset in lower E corner of S face of S porch. The edges of the tympanum have been trimmed to fit, and it is slightly cut into by a block on the upper R. The frame is a plain flat band (w. 0.07m). The field is carved in relief with a cross which has equal lozenge-shaped arms within a circle on L, an eight-runged wheel motif on the R and a crude Agnus Dei at the top centre, with the head of the cross overlapping the outer frame of the tympanum. Dated to the first half of 12thc.
The square font is of Purbeck stone. It is an Altarnun type, situated towards the W end of the nave, opposite S door, on a modern granite step. The plinth is of almost the same dimensions as the top edge of the bowl, although neither is quite square. The upper part of the base is bulbous with incised diagonal lines forming cable ornament all the way around; below this are a cavetto moulding and thin rolls; spur ornaments appear in the form of a simplified leaf except in the NE corner which has a beast head with overall incised patterning, lentoid eyes, pointed ears and spiral nostrils.
The stem is a plain octagon and has been retooled; the bowl has four fine corner heads, bearded and/or moustached (SW and SW corners, moustaches only; NW corner, beard only; NE corner with both). The rosettes or stars in circles on the sides are all six-pointed; the serpents, which surround them have protruding tongues. The font is dated to c.1130.
|Depth of bowl||0.34 metres|
|Diameter of bowl||0.68 metres|
|Height of base||0.34 metres|
|Height of bowl||0.55 metres|
|Height of font||1.11 metres|
|Height of stem||0.22 metres|
|Width at top of bowl||0.91 m x 0.87 metres|
|Width of plinth||0.91 m x 0.93 metres|
|Width of stem||0.53 metres|
C. Henderson, The Cornish Church Guide and Parochial History of Cornwall, D. Bradford Barton Ltd, Truro, 1925, 185-6.
The Parochial History IV, (1872), 220-2.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, Penguin Books, 1951, 98.
E. H. Sedding, Norman Architecture in Cornwall, Ward and Co., 1909, 216-18.