Launcells, St Swithin's Church
Launcells, St Swithin's Church
The parish church of St Swithin's in Launcells escaped the restoring clutches of the Victorians, prompting Sir John Betjeman to famously call it the 'least spoilt church in Cornwall'.
The church dates to the late 15th century, with fragments of an earlier 14th century church - notably the south doorway - incorporated in the current building. The south porch protecting thedoor was added in the late 15th or early 16th century.

The interior is famous for its carved bench ends. There are about 60 of these, with designs including symbols of the Passion of Christ, the Ascension, the Agnus Dei (lamb of God), and the arms of the local Grenville family.

Another interesting feature of the interior are the lovely 15th century wagon roofs of the north and south aisles. There are a number of Georgian box pews against the north wall, and a very large and striking sculpted royal coat of arms to Charles II, crafted by Michael Chuke (see Kilkhampton).

In the chancel are a huge collection of encaustiic Barnstaple tiles, dated to about 1400. These were protected in vaults beneath the floor for many years, and as a result many retain their original glazing. The tiles depict a variety of subjects, including pelicans, lions, griffins, and floral designs. At the south east end of the church is the effigy tomb of Sir John Charmond (d. 1624).