St Ildiema, Lansallos, Cornwall

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Feature Sets (2)


Sedding noticed some wrought stonework from the Norman arcade in the N and S walls of the present 15thc. church; otherwise nothing Romanesque survives except the font.


The village name suggests that there was a Celtic monastery here, of which the later manor of Lansallos was the endowment. Of the Norman period almost nothing can be surmised except the evidence of the church, which seems to have been of some importance. The advowson was later a rectory belonging to the Hywysh family of Raphael.





At W end of nave; only the bowl is ancient. Of white sub-granite stone, probably Pentuan. The carving is in shallow relief; on the E face there are four flowering lilies surmounted by four crowns; the 'plants' are flanked by square quatrefoil motifs, the crowns by pellets. The N faces feature a tree of life flanked by quatrefoils and pellets; the W face has two crosses with expanding equal arms, central pellets and pellets between the arms, the two being separated by a central beaded vertical strip. The bowl is very clean on the sides, which were probably scrubbed when the font was given its Victorian supports.

Height of font 0.37 m
Length of font 0.71 m
Width of font 0.71 m


The quatrefoil carvings on the E, N and S faces of the font have a distinctly Gothic flavour, although both Sedding and Pevsner call it Norman. The lilies and crowns are also unparalleled on other Cornish Romanesque fonts. The present writer would incline to call the font a later medieval pastiche, of which only the tree of life on the N face (cf. Southill, St Stephens by Saltash, etc.) and the shape of the bowl appear geniuinely Romanesque.


  • P. Beacham and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Cornwall (New Haven and London 2014), pp. 280-81.

  • C. Henderson, The Cornish Church Guide, London 1925, pp. 107-108

  • N. Pevsner and E. Radcliffe, The Buildings of England: Cornwall, 2nd ed, (Harmondsworth 1970), p. 93.

  • E. H. Sedding, Norman Architecture in Cornwall: A Handbook to old Cornish ecclesiastical architecture with notes on ancient manor houses (London and Truro 1909), pp. 201-202.

Exterior, from W.
Interior, looking E towards chancel and font.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SX 172 515 
now: Cornwall
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Cornwall
now: Truro
medieval: Exeter
medieval: St Alwys
now: St Ildiema
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Richard Jewell 
Visit Date
27 Sept 1998