Origins of St Carantoc Church.
The first Christian foundation on the site of the present St Carantoc Church probably dates back to about the 5th Century when St Carantoc arrived here and made a Missionary centre. The present Church is basically of Norman design however the Chancel was rebuilt in the 15th Century, the South Porch in the 17th Century and some walls and windows are of early English rebuilding. Two original Norman arches remain on either side of the Chancel arch leading into the Lady Chapel in the South and the Organ in the North. Originally there was a tower in the centre of the building the lower courses of the massive pillars can still be seen, the tower collapsed in the 15th century bringing down much of the Nave and Transepts, hence the need for the rebuilding mentioned above.The present Tower was built in the late 15th Century.
The Church became a centre of a College of Priests, the charter being granted by Edward the Confessor, the college was renowned for its learning and consisted of a Dean and Nine Prebendaries, and about four Priest-Vicars. One of the latter was the Parish Priest for Crantock and another for St Columb Minor. Crantock is the Mother Church for the area including Newquay. St Columb became a parish in the 18th Century and Newquay about 1900. It is said that the Church had seven Churchyards each containg a Chapel and was a popular place of Pilgriage from the surrounding parishes. Originally the Chancel was the centre of worship whilst the smaller and lower Nave served for the few and poor parishioners.
The story of St Carantoc is one of truth and Legend. He was the eldest son of a minor Welsh Chieftan, who gave up his right to go to Ireland to learn the religious life under St Patrick. Like many other Celtic saints he can be traced right across the Celtic fringes of Western Europe. There are many Churches dedicated to his name, in Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. He is said to have started out for Cornwall from Ireland in a Coracle, having cast his Altar stone into the sea to guide him, he was accompanied by his pet Dove. He came ashore on the bank of the River Gannel and was directed to the site of Crantock Church by his Dove. St Carantoc saw this as the guiding of the Holy Spirit.
St Carantoc is depicted in the statue which faces you as you enter the Church as a Mitred Abbot. He may well have been in Bishop's Orders. His feast day is 16th May and he is honored by the Church and the whole village as Abbot and Confessor.
Visiting Crantock Church.
The Church is open every day and is well worth a visit, there is an excellent guide book available, which gives you a full history of the Church and also of the fabric and furniture of the Church such as the Windows, The Pews, The Chancel, The Reredos, The Rood Screen and various other interesting historical facts about St Carantoc Church.
The Batismal Font in St Carantoc Church