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Lelant Church


The name Lelant is generally said to he derived from Lan-nant, “ the Church in the Valley,” but apart from the unsuitability of such a name the more primitive spelling Lananta would suggest a widely different meaning. A Chapel of St. Anta, “ on the sea shore, ‘ in this parish is mentioned as being maintained by a Gild in 1495 . This was clearly near the rock now called Chapel Aanjer or Anny er at the mouth of the Hay le River, and close to the church. Its purpose was doubtless to maintain a harbour light, for the passage then, as now, was difficult, and Lelant was a considerable port. If the chapel stood on the rock it must have been very small. A parallel is.  however, found in the diminutive Oratory of St. Guirrec on a rock on the beach at Ploumanach in Brittany.  The presence of a Saint Anta so close to a church called Lan-anta is highly suggestive, and although St. Uny was the patron , St. Anta may well have been the foundress of Leiant.

The Norman church was larger than usual, having a north aisle. Part of the arcade remains, but in the 15th century the whole was greatly enlarged.  Circa 1150 the church was given to the Priory of Tywardreath which sold it to Bishop Bronescombe. In 1272 he approriated it to the College of Crediton, and the cure of souls became a vicarage.

Altars of the Holy Trinity, St. Mary, and St. Eligius (Eloy) are named in 1435.

For over a century the vicars of Lelant resisted the demands of the inhabitants of Towednack and St. Ives for right of sepulture at those places.  The right being finally conceded in 1542 the vicars took up their residence at St. Ives, where they remained for three centuries, during which time the vicarage at Lelant fell into ruins and the church nearly shared the same fate.

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  • Taken with NIKON COOLPIX P610
  • Focal Length 18.8 mm
  • Exposure Time 10/12500
  • f Aperture f/4.8
  • ISO Speed 100

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