St Mary Magdalen Church

St Mary Magdalen Church

aunceston, (Cornish: Lannstefan), otherwise St Mary Magdalene – including the ancient borough of Launceston, alias Dunheved (the Saxon name for the town), is situated in the Deanery of Trigg Major and the Hundred of East; its Cornish prounciation does not include the ‘t’ sound – and is usually pronounced as ‘Lanson’ or ‘Launson’. It is bounded on the north by St Thomas and St Stephens, on the east by Lawhitton, on the south by South Petherwin, and on the west by South Petherwin and St Thomas. Originally the town was known as ‘Lann-Stephen’, the church site of St Stephen.

Launceston is the ancient Capital of Cornwall and holder of several Royal Charters. The town provided the only crossing points of the River Tamar for many centuries as revealed by several impressive arch bridges, all of which date back to the 15th century or earlier. These were financed from 40 day indulgences granted by the Abbot of Tavistock Abbey.

Launceston lies right on the Cornwall-Devon border, in the far south-west of England. To the west lies Bodmin Moor, to the north the rugged Atlantic Coast, with its great beaches. To the east Dartmoor, and the tranquil River Tamar, which runs all the way to the English Channel on the South Coast. This ancient town guarded the gateway to Cornwall in medieval times, being on the main northern route into the county.

The South Gate of Robert of Mortain’s eleventh century Norman castle still survives, restricting the modern vehicular traffic to one lane. In the centre of the town the imposing church of St Mary Magdalene has many interesting carvings on its granite exterior. The priest Cuthbert Mayne was hung, drawn and quartered at Launceston in 1574 for his allegiance to the Catholic faith. He was canonized in 1972.


Church St


PL15 8AU

Tel: +44 1295 730344