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St Mary’s Church, Penzance
St Mary's Church, Penzance - geograph.org.uk - 1630257.jpg
St Mary’s Church, Penzance
Coordinates: 50°06′59.82″N 5°32′0.33″W / 50.1166167°N 5.5334250°W / 50.1166167; -5.5334250
Location Penzance
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Broad Church
History
Dedication St Mary
Consecrated 6 September 1836
Architecture
Heritage designation Grade II* listed
Architect(s) Charles Hutchens
Groundbreaking 1832
Completed 15 November 1835
Administration
Parish Penzance
Deanery Penwith
Archdeaconry Cornwall
Diocese Diocese of Truro
Province Province of Canterbury

St Mary’s Church, Penzance is a Grade II* listed parish church in the Church of England in Penzance, Cornwall.

History

The site as a place of worship dates from at least the fourteenth century, but was a chapel to the parish of Madron and first licensed in 1321. The chapel was spared during the Spanish raid in August 1595 because Mass had been celebrated, previously. Despite enlargements in 1662 to 1672, and 1782 it was severely overcrowded by 1824. At that time it served a population of circa 7000 and was still a chapel of ease to Madron, two miles inland. The Reverend Thomas Vyvyan made arrangements to replace it with a new church designed by Charles Hutchens. The Clerk of Works was John Pope Vibert. The rebuilt church was consecrated by the Bishop of Exeter, Henry Phillpotts, on 6 September 1836. A separate parish of Penzance was created in 1871. The churchyard was extended on the southern side in 1883.

Arson destroyed the interior of the church in April 1985 and two further arson attempts occurred in November 2018.

Bells

The first bell in the present church was inscribed ″PEACE AND GOOD NEIGHBOURHOOD, 1713 JP″ and was moved to St John's Hall in 1865 for use as a fire-bell. Eight new bells were installed that year at a cost of £950. Their size (diameter at mouth), weight and inscriptions are,

  1. 30 inches (760 mm); 6cwt 3qrs 4lbs; ″PEACE AND GOOD NEIGHBOURHOOD A.D. 1865; TAYLOR AND CO., FOUNDERS″,
  2. 30 inches (760 mm); 7cwt 0qrs 10lbs; ″TAYLOR AND CO., FOUNDERS, LOUGHBOROUGH A.D. 1835″,
  3. 34 inches (860 mm); 8cwt 0qrs 10lbs; ″THE GIFT OF PHILIP HEDGELAND M.A., JAMES ALDRINGE DEVENISH, ASSISTANT CURATE, WALTER EDMUNDS, JUN., CHAPELWARDEN, SAMUEL YORK, SIDESMAN A.D. 1865, TAYLOR AND CO., FOUNDERS, LOUGHBOROUGH″,
  4. 30 inches (760 mm); 8cwt 2qrs 10lbs; ″TAYLOR AND CO., FOUNDERS, LOUGHBOROUGH A.D., 1865″,
  5. 38.5 inches (980 mm); 10cwt 1qrs 22lbs; ″THE GIFT OF CAROLINE AND ELIZABETH CATHERINE THOMAS CARNE A.D.1865″,
  6. 40 inches (1,000 mm); 11cwt 1qrs 3lbs; ″TAYLOR AND CO., A.D. 1865″,
  7. 44 inches (1,100 mm); 14cwt 2qrs 17lbs; ″THE GIFT OF THE CORPORATION. FRANCIS BOASE, MAYOR, A.D., 1865, J. TAYLOR AND CO., FOUNDERS, LOUGHBOROUGH, LATE OF OXFORD AND BUCKLAND BREWER, DEVON".
  8. 50 inches (1,300 mm); 20cwt 2qrs 6lbs; ″BOLITHO 1865. J TAYLOR AND CO., FOUNDERS, LOUGHBOROUGH, LEICESTERSHIRE″.

A carillon, costing about £300 and paid for by public subscription, was installed as a memorial to the town clerk and ornithologist, Edward Hearle Rodd. The first to be erected in Cornwall, it was completed by Gillett, Bland & Co on 10 November 1880 and first played at 8.00 pm on Sunday, 28 November 1880. The carillon played fourteen tunes and a tune was played for two weeks, every four hours at 8 am, noon, 4 and 8 pm, midnight and 4 am. The carillon had two barrels and two hammers for each of the bells. The hammers did not interfere with the normal ringing of the eight bells by bell-ringers.

Organ

The organ contains casework dating from 1676 originally located in St Mary’s Church, Oxford. The organ is by J. W. Walker & Sons Ltd and was moved here from Oxford in 1949. A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.

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