St Maddern

Reredos and Altar – Newspaper article (West Briton, 1897) E.H. Sedding architect; 1897

The only source for this work is a short announcement in the West Briton newspaper, stating that a ‘new carved oak reredos and altar, designed by Mr. Sedding, of Plymouth, have been placed in the south aisle of Madron Parish Church, being the gift of the late General Tremenheere. The work was executed by Messrs [sic] R. Pinwill & Co.’ (Ibid. p. 5). The altar features a large Celtic cross in the centre, but there is now no reredos in the south aisle chapel.

Chancel Screen Restoration – Photographs (PWDRO 244/5); 1903-05

John Dando Sedding had carried out restoration work at Madron 1886-89, during which some panels of the base of the 1450 chancel screen were discovered hidden under the old box pews. These showed traces of original colour and were repaired and refixed, and lengthened to run completely across the church. The wish was expressed then that resources might be forthcoming for the restoration of the entire screen. That hope was realised about 15 years later when Nora Bolitho of Laregan donated the necessary funds in memory of her parents, and Edmund H. Sedding was engaged to design a reproduction.

There are four photographs in PWDRO of the screen at Madron, one showing the full width and the other three the north, chancel and south sections, respectively. A newspaper article about its dedication provides the information that the screen was restored by ‘Messrs [sic] Rashleigh, Pinwell [sic] & Co.’ from designs by Edmund H. Sedding (Cornishman, 1903). This was an enormous and expensive piece of work. The screen is about 53 feet wide and divided into 15 bays. On top of the fifteenth-century carved panels, the rest of the screen, with vaulting and carved cornice, was reproduced in darkened oak in medieval design. It seems, however, that not all of the decorative work was complete at the time of dedication. In February 1905 ‘several lengths of very fine cresting and moulding for the cornice of Madron church screen’ were exhibited in Plymouth (Western Morning News, 1905 p. 8) and presumably installed soon afterwards.


Cornishman (1903) St. Madron Church. The Chancel Screen Restored. 8 October p. 5.

PWDRO 244/5 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

West Briton (1897) Local Intelligence. Penzance. 24 June p. 5.

Western Morning News (1905) Exhibition of Wood-Carving in Plymouth. 15 February p. 8.