St. Rumon, also known as Ruan, Ronan, and Ruadan, was probably a brother of Bishop St. Tudwal of Trequier, but nothing else is known of him beyond that he was probably an Irish missionary and many churches in Devon and Cornwall in England were named after him. Some authorities believed he is the same as the St. Ronan (June 1) venerated in Brittany and believed consecrated bishop by St. Patrick, but others believe that he and St. Kea were British monks who founded a monastery at Street Somerset.
Lann as in Lanihorne tells us that this was an early religious settlement. Lanns were normally situated close to the shore of a minor channel leading off a river. They would also normally be out of sight from the main river in order to avoid the attention of opportunistic raiders. There would have been a chapel, a few houses and a burial ground.
Origins of This Church
It is thought that an early church was built in 936 with the present church reconsecrated in 1321. It is possible that the lower part of the east wall of the chancel dates from the time of the early church. The earliest recorded rector was Sir William Bodrygan in 1282. The rest of the chancel, the nave, part of the south transept and the lower part of the tower all date to the fourteenth century. The stone with which the church was built appears to come from the quarry in Parsonage Wood which is on the other side of the Glebe land. Originally the nave would not have had pews, however some seating was eventually provided in the form of plain wooden benches with backs on them and in the mid 1700’s the present pews were provided. In about 1658 (it has been suggested that it could have been 3 September 1658, the night Cromwell died) there was a terrible storm that brought the church tower crashing down onto the porch and transept. The owner of Trelonk, a local gentleman farmer, Richard Trestean paid for the rebuilding of the south transept. There was a further renovation of the church during the mid-nineteenth century with the beam that once supported the rood screen being removed and the roof was replaced.
Today there is no separation between the chancel and the nave. At one time there would have been a rood screen and built into the north wall opposite the pulpit was a spiral staircase that led to the rood loft. The staircase was blocked and plastered over in the mid eighteenth century. At one stage it was used as a chimney for the heating. The south transept was originally for the use of the local lord of the manor and his family. An hagioscope or squint was provided so that the local lord would have been able to observe the priest as he officiated at the altar. The tomb in the south transept, which now houses the remains of Richard Trestean, probably once contained the remains of an early lord of the manor and it is thought that the carved stone monk was brought from Glasney College at the time of its dissolution in 1536. The north aisle was added in the mid fourteenth century and then became the new lord’s chapel. The tradition is that this private aisle was separated from the rest of the church by wooden rails. At the western end of this aisle is the font. It is believed to be a fourteenth century example, made in the earlier Norman style. The cover for the font has, like the altar, lectern and pulpit supports, been constructed from the roof timbers removed in the nineteenth century.
It has been claimed that the tower once stood half as high again as its present height. However the earliest known pictures date from after the tower was rebuilt in 1675. At one time the tower housed three bells. The Revd John Whitaker (rector 1777 to 1808) had two bells cast into one in 1788 and this bell bears his name. The other bell was removed during the 1950’s.
A more in depth history of the church can be found in the guide booklet that is able to be purchased in the church.