St Bartholomew

Altar Rails – Chaytor (1990) Letters (CRO P128/2/33-45); 1938

Lostwithiel is in the list of churches supplied by Chaytor in which Violet Pinwill’s work exists, but no further information is given on what may be found there. However, at CRO there is a collection of thirteen letters and postcards written by Violet Pinwill to the Vicar at Lostwithiel between October 1938 and January 1939 about the design, supply and fitting of a pair of altar rails. After several letters debating the design of the rails, the work was done just in time for Christmas. The fitting was carried out by a joiner on Christmas Eve, during of the very cold winters of 1938/39. There appears to have been a problem with the cement setting in the cold weather and there followed a complaint that the rails were wobbly. The church also wanted an inscription added afterwards, which was far more difficult than if it had been done in the workshop. Charles Gait was sent down to do the inscription but since he was ‘a carver he would not be doing the joiners work’, though he would assess the situation. Violet concluded that the rails had been moved before the cement was set but agreed to send a man (presumably a joiner) to repair the work. The letters end before the situation was resolved but the rails are currently fixed to the ground with bolts, which suggests that any repair work did not last. The bill of £12 11s for the altar rails and the inscription was settled in January 1939. The dedication is to Augusta Maria Hart, who died in June 1938. A faculty petition was submitted in October 1938 for the placing of carved oak altar rails in St George’s Chapel (CRO D/R 16/23).


Chaytor, E. (1990) Ermington Days. Melinga Publishing, North Cheam.

CRO D/R 16/23 Faculty Petition. Lostwithiel. Altar Rails.

CRO P128/2/33-45 Letters. Lostwithiel. From V. Pinwill re Altar Rails 1938-39.