Reredos & Rood - St Carantock - Crantock, Cornwall
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member SMacB
N 50° 24.197 W 005° 06.630
30U E 350021 N 5585600
Quick Description: Reredos and Rood in St Carantock's church, Crantock - the work of Rashleigh, Pinwill & Co.
Location: South West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 8/2/2020 1:37:16 AM
Waymark Code: WM12XHP
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member pmaupin
Views: 1

Long Description:
Reredos and Rood in St Carantock's church, Crantock - the work of Rashleigh, Pinwill & Co. In fact much of the woodwork in the church is by the Pinwills. These include the reredos and chancel screen, as well as bench ends and other decorative carvings.

"The restoration of the old Collegiate church of St Carantoc in the village of Crantock on Cornwall’s north coast by the architect Edmund H Sedding and the incumbent Father George Metford Parsons is rightly regarded today as one of the glories of Cornwall. Father George (as he was generally known) designed the integrated didactic scheme for the new stained glass windows throughout the church, but obviously most of the restoration was the responsibility of the architect.

The quality of the new woodwork is usually given most prominence.

The principal beauty is its very rich High Church fittings, dating mainly from 1897–1907. They include a splendid screen with coving, loft and rood, which incorporates a few medieval parts. There are fine parclose screens, rich sanctuary panelling, reredos, timber sedilia, and lavish stalls including four modern misericords. The pews have good carved ends in the late medieval manner. The largely renewed roofs have fine colouring above the rood and the sanctuary.

Edmund Sedding entrusted the commission for the woodwork to the Plymouth firm of Rashleigh, Pinwill and Company. Revd Edmund Pinwill became rector of Ermington in Devon in 1880, where the woodwork of the church was in dire need of restoration. Mrs Pinwill persuaded the woodcarvers to teach the craft to her daughters Mary, Ethel and Violet. As confidence in their skills developed, the three sisters decided to form their own business as professional carvers in restoring and creating woodwork under the name of Rashleigh, Pinwill and Company at Ermington. They opened a new workshop in Plymouth in 1900. At the time of the restoration of Crantock (1899–1906), the offices and workshop of Rashleigh, Pinwill & Co. in Plymouth were at the same address as Sedding’s architectural practice, and remained so for many years.

Although the accepted local wisdom attributes to Violet the main responsibility for the Crantock carvings, this ignores the likely involvement of Mary and particularly Ethel in the work. In the absence of more detailed evidence, the term ‘Pinwill studio’ is used rather than the names of any one individual sister. The Faculties for the various stages of Crantock’s restoration specify ‘Rashleigh, Pinwill & Co’, except for that of 1906 (the nave bench ends) when the studio is simply listed as ‘Miss Pinwill’ (i.e., Violet). Mary’s marriage resulted in her leaving the business in 1900 whilst Ethel remained at the Ermington workshop until her departure for Surrey in 1908. During much of the Crantock restoration Violet managed the Plymouth base herself. She recruited and supervised additional carvers, as well as teaching the craft at Plymouth Technical College. Originally specialising in carvings of animals, flowers, fruits and vegetables, she moved on to the representation of religious figures. She died in 1957 aged 82 years, and her work is to be found in over 100 churches.

The Sanctuary reredos -
To a design by Sedding, the reredos behind the High altar was one of the first fixtures of the church’s restoration to be installed. It contains four major and eight minor figures, and from the evidence of his scheme for the stained-glass windows, one must infer that Father George was closely involved with Sedding in their selection.

The four major figures are St Peter (holding keys and book), St Patrick (with crozier and book, and a snake at his feet), St Piran (with millstone and crozier) and St Edward the Confessor (crowned with orb and sceptre). All the figures are related in some way to the early history of this church. Peter is patron of the Diocese of Exeter which in medieval times included all of Cornwall. Patrick was traditionally both a friend and patron of St Carantoc. Piran was also traditionally a friend of St Carantoc, and a typical major Cornish saint on this part of the north Cornish coast Edward the Confessor’s reign was approximately when the original church became a Collegiate Foundation. The reason why the patron saint Carantoc himself is not included in the group is because he was to be the subject of all four nave windows in Father George’s scheme and is the subject of Nathaniel Hitch’s stand-alone statue opposite the main south door.

The side niches are occupied by eight saints chosen to illustrate the Beatitudes, with the title of each in Latin inscribed on the base. Firstly, St Francis (with cross and showing the stigmata on his hands) represents ‘The poor in spirit’; below is St Anselm (holding book and stylus) representing ‘The meek’. Secondly, Mary Magdalene (carrying a container) representing ‘They that mourn’; below is St Itha (carrying a book and crook) representing ‘They which do hunger and thirst after righteousness’. Thirdly, St Bridget of Kildare (carrying a crozier and lamp) represents ‘The merciful’; below is St Agnes (with martyr’s palm and sword, accompanied by a lamb) representing ‘The pure in heart’. Lastly, St Ireneus (with crozier and palm) represents ‘The peacemaker’; below is St George the Martyr (with sword and shield, slaying dragon) representing ‘They that are persecuted for righteousness sake’.

Several reasons can be inferred for the selection of these eight saints to illustrate the Beatitudes. They are accepted Anglo-Catholic saints selected to reflect Father George’s declared ritual status. Secondly, the inclusion of saints from the ‘Celtic’ fringes of Europe emphasises their significance in the history of Cornish Christianity. Lastly, the equal balance of male and female saints is remarkable for this time (pre-1914), especially as the female saints occupy the prominent central niches. Bearing in mind the lack of support from the parish that Father George experienced at the start of his incumbency, these figures can be viewed as a brave and robust statement of Anglo-Catholic beliefs in the face of threats from current non-Conformist and atheist sentiments.

The Chancel Rood screen -
The single most impressive carved feature of the restoration is Sedding’s rood screen of 1902 spanning both transepts and the nave, incorporating several uprights of the original medieval screen. It ‘is especially accomplished with large rood figures carried above a second tier of fine woodwork high in the chancel arch’. In this fine woodwork are fourteen apostles and evangelists carved by the Pinwill studio. From north to south the figures and their attributes are as follows:

Matthias (halberd and book)
Philip (cross)
Bartholomew (flaying knife)
Jude (spear)
Andrew (cross)
Luke (winged ox and book)
Paul (sword)
Peter (keys)
Mark (winged lion and book)
James the Great ((pilgrim’s staff and book)
Thomas (builder’s square)
Matthew (cross and book)
James the Less (fuller’s staff and book)
Simon (saw)."

SOURCE - (visit link)
Approximate age of artefact (Year): 1906

Relevant website: [Web Link]

Times available for viewing: Daytime hours

Entrance fee (if applicable), local currency: 0

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