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Churches which still retain west gallery features or connections

Boconnoc, dedication unknown 17th C. gallery. (No ref. in Pevsner.)
Fowey, St. Fimbar Jacobean pulpit
Golant, St Sampson A small 15th C. church set high above the Fowey river. Very uncomfortable upright box-pews.
Helston, St. Michael Church rebuilt in 1762 by Bland of Truro in Classical manner. One of the few Georgian churches in Cornwall, even though the Victorians meddled with the interior . . . Three galleries; stair in the  1830 porch.
Holmes Chapel, St. Luke 
Landulph, St. Leonard Set beside the River Tamar, between two inlets. Manorial pew, Rood screen.
Lanteglos-by-Fowey, St. Willow Difficult to reach, either by ferry and by land. The panelling from the original family pews is of interest, removed from the east end of the church and re-erected at the west end - "interesting and unusual".
Launcells, St. Andrew The only Cornish church to be wholly untouched by Victorian 'restoration'. Old plaster on the walls, ancient roofs intact, the finest bench-ends in Cornwall; box-pews, pulpit, three-sided altar rails, reredos and organ-case; Polyphant arcades; Norman font with 17th C. cover. (CEPC)
Launceston, St. Mary Magdalene Organ case early 18th century.  ? west gallery
Torpoint, dedication unknown Church 1819. Gallery on iron columns.
Truro, St. John Church dates from 1828, and has a west gallery.

Churches which are known to have had west gallery features or connections

Blisland, St. Protus & St Hyacinth West gallery built about 1780; payments recorded between 1782 and 1803. It is a church that has to be visited because of the richness of the other fittings.  (CEPC)
Liskeard, St. Martin Church restored and refitted 1793 - possibly this was when the gallery was erected. There was a band band of violins, cellos, flutes, clarinets, bassoons and "scorpions" [?] Replaced by an organ in 1844. Gallery removed 1927.
Perranzabuloe, St.Piran "In the year 1873, when the interiors of many Cornish churches were being greatly changed and, in several cases, the character of the old churches completely lost in the name of "restoration", the Church of St. Piran was reseated and the chancel raised.

Prior to this date there was a gallery at the back of the church, just inside the large oak door, and the Choir sat in the gallery. One of the oldest inhabitants of Perranporth can remember a string band under the direction of the choirmaster, Mr. Wm. Hodge, supplying the music for the services." (Church guide book - undated but fairly ancient.)
St. Winnow, St.Winnow Painting of church ca.1850 shows interior "cluttered up with family pews, clerk's seat and singers' seats".
Isles of Scilly, Old Church and St Mary  

Chapels which have or had west gallery features or connections

St. Ervan, Penrose, Methodist Chapel

Moving in its utter simplicity and lack of pretension Penrose is a rare survivor among wayside Cornish Methodist chapels. The chapel dates from 1861 although at first glance it may appear to be much older. It is constructed of local slate rubble, to a rectangular plan.

The interior is virtually unaltered with plain plastered walls and twelve-paned windows on either side of the central door. The pulpit has turned balusters with a panelled enclosure in front rimmed by benches facing into the middle. These once formed a meeting area.

Penrose is also one of only six small chapels in Cornwall identified by English Heritage as retaining its complete and original set of box pews, arranged in tiers at the west end and along the north and south sides of the interior.

Visit the Historic Chapels Trust web site, at, to whom we are indebted for this information.

Asterisks denote churches in preparation



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This site has been constructed by, and remains the copyright of, its authors,
Edwin and Sheila Macadam,

Shelwin, 30, Eynsham Road, Botley,
Oxford OX2 9BP
July 2001 -