St Erth

In 1873-74, John Dando Sedding extensively rebuilt the body of this church, re-using much of the original material (Beacham & Pevsner, 2014). Further restoration work by Edmund H. Sedding, assisted by R.F. Wheatly, included refurbishment of the Trewinnard chapel in the eastern end of the South aisle. The work was undertaken as a memorial to the Hawkins family of Trewinnard, the cost being borne by the widow of Christopher Henry Thomas Hawkins. A faculty for the restoration of the chapel was granted in 1911 (CRO P59/2/5) and the result was dedicated by the Bishop of Truro in October 1912.

St Erth Altar St Piran
Figure of St Piran on the Chapel Reredos at St Erth

Chapel Altar, Reredos, Roof and Bench Ends – Newspaper article (West Briton, 1912a) Sedding and Wheatly architects; 1912

There are no photographs of these items in PWDRO but in an obituary for Edmund H. Sedding, it is stated that he designed the chapel altar, reredos, roof, screen (see below) and bench ends and that the carving was carried out by Rashleigh, Pinwill & Co (Western Morning News, 1921). The carving work for the benches includes two bench fronts: the one on the north depicts the Annunciation and the other on the south shows the landing of Bishop Ercus who founded St Erth church. The newspaper report on the dedication of the chapel states that stonecarvers Hitch & Co. of London were involved in the restoration (West Briton, 1912a), which implies they were responsible for the marble steps around the altar.

Chapel Screen – Photographs (PWDRO 244/5); Newspaper article (West Briton, 1912a) Sedding and Wheatly architects; 1912

The screen across the chapel is part of the same suite of furnishings designed by Sedding and included in the 1911 faculty. Two photographs from different angles are to be found in PWDRO 244/5. The screen is very much in the traditional style and, perhaps rather surprisingly, carries the identical carvings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as those in the reredos at Ermington and in the screen at Launceston St Mary Magdalene, both installed in 1911.

Parclose Screens – Newspaper article (West Briton, 1912b) Sedding and Wheatly architects; 1912

There are no photographs of the two screens that enclose the chapel on the north side, but they are mentioned in another newspaper article about the dedication that attributes them to Rashleigh Pinwill, Plymouth.

Litany Desk – Photograph (PWDRO 116/75 & 244/5); probably 1912

Altar Rails – Photograph (PWDRO 244/4 & 244/5); probably 1912

The litany desk and altar rails in the photographs in PWDRO are situated in the Trewinnard chapel and were probably commissioned with the other furnishings listed above.

Lychgate – Newspaper article (Western Morning News, 1926) R.F. Wheatly architect; 1926

In October 1926, it was reported in the Western Morning News that a carved oak lychgate with slate roof and Cornish granite masonry had been given by the Misses Vivian of Meadowside, Hayle, as a memorial to their parents. The carving was the work of Miss Pinwill of Plymouth and Mr Wheatly was the architect. A faculty petition for the lychgate was submitted in May 1926, together with plans drawn up by Wheatly, and granted in July of that year (CRO D/R 4/12). The estimate for the work was £250.


Beacham, P. & Pevsner, N. (2014) The Buildings of England. Cornwall. Yale University Press, London.

CRO D/R 4/12 Faculty Petition. St Erth. Memorial Lych Gate.

CRO P59/2/5 Papers. St Erth. Restoration of Church 1901-1911.

PWDRO 116/75 Photograph. St Erth. Litany Desk.

PWDRO 244/4 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

PWDRO 244/5 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

West Briton (1912a) Dedication Ceremony at St. Erth. Mrs. Hawkins’ Memorial to her Late Husband’s Family. 31 October p. 4.

West Briton (1912b) Hawkins Memorial Chapel. Dedication at St. Erth by Bishop of Truro. 7 November p. 3.

Western Morning News (1921) Mr. Edmund Sedding. Plymouth Architect’s Death in London. Work for Churches. 23 February p. 8.

Western Morning News (1926) Gift to St. Erth Church. 29 October p. 5.