Parish Church of:
Stephen by Launceston, St
The church of St. Stephen the mother church of Launceston and the surrounding parishes, is a spacious building of grey granite and Polyphant stone in the Early Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave of four bays, south aisle and chapel, transepts, south porch with parvise and a lofty embattled western tower, with pinnacles, containing a clock and 6 bells, dated 1779, and re-hung in 1892; the church was thoroughly restored in 1883 under the direction of Messrs. Hine and Odgers, architects, of Plymouth, at a cost of £1,700: in removing a modern granite window at the east end of the chancel, a large sculptured stone was found, with a seated figure, life size, representing Christ in Majesty; on the exterior of the same wall, at the north end, there is a similar stone much mutilated, apparently representing the Virgin and Child, and forming the tympanum of a blocked up doorway; at the opposite end are the remains of another doorway, and beyond the chancel
wall, eastward, are the foundations of what was either a sacristy or (more probably) a lady chapel, into which the two east doorways opened; it is probable that the sculpture of "Christ in Majesty" occupied a place above the south doorway, corresponding with that of "Christ in Humility", above the north doorway, and the recovered panel has been refixed accordingly; other, interesting remains were also brought to light and are carefully preserved: there are monuments to Marie Pomeroy, ob. 1630; Margaret (Escott), wife of Digory Prowt, ob. 1631; Margaret Prowte, ob. 1674; John Bewes, of Colacott, ob. 1675, and Anne, his wife, ob. 1675, with others of later date, the font is Norman; the chancel retains its ancient piscina and has a new reredos of Bath and Caen stone and Devonshire marble, with a sculptured group in the centre representing the "Crucifixion": there is a stained window in the north transept and in the porch is a holy water stoup: a new organ was erected
in 1891: the church affords 220 sittings. The register dates from the year 1569: many valuable deeds and registers, together with a terrier of the parish, were stolen many years since, but some were afterwards recovered.
The old collegiate church was consecrated by Bishop Bronescombe, October 23rd, 1259, and it was once proposed that it should be the seat of the bishop, by Robert Warlewast, Bishop of Exeter (1150-9), suppressed the college and in its stead founded in 1170 a priory in St Thomas' for canons of the Augustinian order, dedicated to St. Stephen.