St Wyllow

Lanteglos by Fowey Choir Stall Bench End
Choir Stall Bench End at Lanteglos by Fowey

An appeal for funds to ‘rescue the fine old Parish Church… from the ruin with which it is threatened’ (Cornishman, 1903a p. 8) was made by the Vicar of Lanteglos by Fowey in May 1903 and a faculty for restoration and reseating was granted in June of the same year (CRO P116/2/6). The sensitive restoration by Edmund H. Sedding was completed in February 1906 (Western Morning News, 1906), and, according to the guide (Lanteglos by Fowey, undated), all the Pinwill woodcarving dates from this period.

Pulpit – Photograph (PWDRO 116/110 & 244/5) E.H. Sedding architect; 1903-06

The design of this pulpit is similar to others at Crantock, Gorran, Lewannick, Linkinhorne, St Breward, St Buryan and St Erme. It is mentioned in a newspaper report about the re-opening of the church as being the work of the Misses Rashleigh Pinwill (Western Morning News, 1906).

Choir Stalls – Photograph (PWDRO 116/56, 244/4 & 244/5) E.H. Sedding architect; 1903-06

The choir stall poppy heads at Lanteglos are of the naturalistic style used to great effect at Crantock and at Weare, Somerset, a few years before. Some of the designs at Lanteglos are very similar to ones elsewhere and have obviously been adapted, but they are nevertheless exquisitely produced.

Bench Ends Restoration – Newspaper article (Western Morning News, 1906) E.H. Sedding architect; 1906

A report prior to the reopening of the church in February 1906 states that the medieval benches ‘have been most carefully repaired by the Misses Rashleigh Pinwill’ (Western Morning News, 1906 p. 5). However, only ten were ready for the reopening, while the remaining eight, together with some Jacobean panels, were not completed until August. This work, together with the refixing of the altar rails, cost £216 (Warner, 2022).

Altar Rails – Guide (Lanteglos by Fowey, undated) E.H. Sedding; 1903-06

The only source for the three tower screens and the altar rails is the church guide, which states that they date from the Sedding restoration and were the work of the Misses Rashleigh Pinwill of Plymouth.

Lanteglos by Fowey Font Cover detail
Detail of Font Cover at Lanteglos by Fowey

Tower Screens (3) – Guide (Lanteglos by Fowey, undated) E.H. Sedding architect; 1903-06 and/or 1910

At least one of the three tower screens was not installed until 1910 (Warner, 2022).

Font Cover – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5) E.H. Sedding architect; 1910

This confection of a font cover is beautifully carved and surmounted by the medieval symbol of piety, the pelican feeding her chicks, and incorporates the ‘dolphin’ motif, found commonly in Cornwall on post-Reformation bench ends, including some in this church. It is not listed as having been installed until 1910 (Warner, 2022).

Alabaster Panel Restoration – Photograph (PWDRO 244/5) E.H. Sedding architect; 1912

During the 1903-06 restoration the old stairway to the rood loft was opened up and a broken alabaster panel was found by the vicar (Cornish Guardian, 1912). This was eventually reset by Violet Pinwill and fixed on a slate slab against the east wall of the south aisle. It depicts the martyrdom of St Lawrence lying bound on a gridiron while a man beneath stokes the flames with bellows. The original colour is still extant but the faces have been mutilated.


Cornish Guardian (1912) Polruan. 13 September p. 4.

Cornishman (1903) To Save a Cornish Church. 14 May p. 8.

CRO P116/2/6 Faculty. Lanteglos by Fowey. Restoration and Reseating.

Lanteglos by Fowey (undated) Parish Church of St Wyllow, Lanteglos by Fowey. Unpublished guide within church.

PWDRO 116/110 Photographs. Various. Pulpits.

PWDRO 244/4 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 244/5 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

Warner, M. (2022) A Time to Build: Signposts to the Building, Restoration, Enhancement, and Maintenance of Cornwall’s Anglican Churches and Mission Rooms. Scyfa, Cornwall.

Western Morning News (1906) Lanteglos-by-Fowey Church. A Conservative Restoration. 16 February p. 5.