Ancient Monuments

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St Saviour's Chapel, Polruan

A Scheduled Monument in Lanteglos, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.3272 / 50°19'37"N

Longitude: -4.6354 / 4°38'7"W

OS Eastings: 212518.381108

OS Northings: 50791.75056

OS Grid: SX125507

Mapcode National: GBR N6.XP5G

Mapcode Global: FRA 1855.HY4

Entry Name: St Saviour's Chapel, Polruan

Scheduled Date: 16 December 1974

Last Amended: 14 March 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019055

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31862

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Lanteglos

Built-Up Area: Polruan

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Lanteglos-by-Fowey

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes the site of a medieval chapel known as St Saviour's
Chapel, at Polruan on the south coast of mid-Cornwall.
St Saviour's Chapel survives as a substantial corner of the tower and a raised
platform which is considered to contain the remainder of the site of the
chapel in the form of buried remains. The north and west walls of the tower
survive to a height of 6.73m, are approximately 1.3m wide, and are constructed
of small slate rubble and cob mortar. There are traces of plaster remaining on
both the interior and exterior of the west wall. On the outer wall, at the
angle, is a 2m high clasping buttress, while high up in the internal angle of
the tower is a wooden bar linking the two walls.
The tower fragment is located on a sub-rectangular platformed mound, which
extends to the south and east of the tower and probably contains the remainder
of the chapel. The standing remains of the chapel are a Listed Building
Grade II.
The chapel was in existence before 1284 when it was included in a grant with
Lanteglos by Fowey parish church to the Hospital of Bridgewater. By 1371-2 the
people of Polruan had license for the chapel and maintained it. The chapel had
its own chaplain which led to various disputes between the Vicar of Lanteglos
and the people of Polruan. In 1455 there was an Indulgence for all those
contributing to repairs to the chapel of Holy Trinity at Polruan, probably the
same chapel as St Saviour's. The chapel is depicted on a map of around 1540 as
a tower with crenellations, windows and a nave roofed with three windows along
the south side. On Buck's engraving of 1734 the tower is shown as a ruin, only
a part of the tower and east wall with a window still standing. By 1925 only
the north west angle of the tower survived, although it did also serve as a
daymark for shipping up to this date.
The three wood and concrete benches on the south side of the mound, the
coastguard lookout building and its walled enclosure on the top of the mound,
the telegraph pole and the childrens' play area to the north are excluded from
the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A medieval chapel is a building, usually rectangular, containing a range of
furnishings and fittings appropriate for Christian worship in the pre-
Reformation period. Chapels were designed for congregational worship and were
generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provided accommodation
for the laity, and the chancel, which was the main domain of the priest and
contained the principal altar. Around 4000 parochial chapels were built
between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship built for
the convenience of parishioners who lived at a distance from the main parish
church. Other chapels were built as private places of worship by manorial
lords and lie near or within manor houses, castles or other high-status
residences. Chantry chapels were built and maintained by endowment and were
established for the singing of masses for the soul of the founder. Some
chapels possessed burial grounds. Unlike parish churches, the majority of
which remain in ecclesiastical use, chapels were often abandoned as their
communities and supporting finances declined or disappeared. Many chantry
chapels disappeared after the dissolution of their supporting communities in
the 1540s.
Chapels, like parish churches, have always been major features of the
landscape. A significant number of surviving examples are identified as being
nationally important. The sites of abandoned chapels, where positively
identified, are particularly worthy of statutory protection as they were often
left largely undisturbed and thus retain important information about the
nature and date of their use up to their abandonment.

St Savior's Chapel survives reasonably well with a substantial fragment of the
tower still standing on a sub-rectangular platform which will contain below
ground remains of the chapel. The chapel was in existence by the 13th century
when it was first recorded. It is also depicted on a map of the 16th century
and the ruins are also shown on an 18th century engraving. One of its original
functions was probably as a daymark for shipping out to sea, a function that
continued until as late as 1925.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Henderson, C, The Cornish Church Guide, (1928)
Keast, J, The Story of Fowey, (1987)
Keast, J, The Story of Fowey, (1987)
Consulted July 1997, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 26739,
pp.4-6, FMW report for CO 929,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 05/15; St Austell and Fowey
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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