Liskeard, St Martin’s


Christianity had come to Liskeard by 1000AD but the first church appears to have been built in the 11/12th century. It may have been influenced by the church at St. Germans, having two towers and a carved Norman arched doorway, but with a smaller arch. The base of one tower is still there at the west end of the north aisle and contains a possible ‘leper’ window. A map of Henry VIII’s reign shows a church with two towers. The gargoyles from the original church have been recycled twice and now adorn the church tower built in 1900.The present church was built in two stages. The south aisle and Lady Chapel appear to have been built tog

ether in 1430 when the Prior of Launceston was asked to allow building against the chancel. The buttresses of this section were adorned with consecration crosses unlike any others in Cornwall. There was then a 50 year delay before the north aisle was built in 1478. There was a central tower at the west end which was heavily altered or rebuilt in 1675 although a west door had been inserted into it earlier in the century. This tower was in a dangerous state in the 1890s and a new tower was built in 1900-2, together with a choir vestry. The church underwent major interior alterations at the end of the 18th century, when the Rood Screen was removed, and was again heavily restored in 1879. The gallery over the Lady Chapel, erected in 1798, was taken down in 1929.

Some fine late 19th and early 20th century stained glass windows were inserted and choir stalls and screens with some impressive carving were also erected in the early 20th century. The War Memorial panel at the east end of the south aisle is curious as it has more women than men represented in it. The organ, originally made in 1872 was bought for the church in 1913 and was rebuilt here in 1923. The pulpit was given to the church in 1636 and is a superb piece of 17th century carving.

The Parish registers of baptisms, marriages and deaths are almost continuous from the 16th century. The church still maintains four services every Sunday and a popular mid-week Communion service. The parish includes a daughter church joined with the Methodists in Dobwalls and is directly linked to St.Keyne.

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