St Saviour's Chapel, Polruan


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019055

Date first listed: 16-Dec-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Mar-2000


Ordnance survey map of St Saviour's Chapel, Polruan
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Lanteglos

National Grid Reference: SX 12519 50791


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

A medieval chapel is a building, usually rectangular, containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate for Christian worship in the pre- Reformation period. Chapels were designed for congregational worship and were generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provided accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which was the main domain of the priest and contained the principal altar. Around 4000 parochial chapels were built between the 12th and 17th centuries as subsidiary places of worship built for the convenience of parishioners who lived at a distance from the main parish church. Other chapels were built as private places of worship by manorial lords and lie near or within manor houses, castles or other high-status residences. Chantry chapels were built and maintained by endowment and were established for the singing of masses for the soul of the founder. Some chapels possessed burial grounds. Unlike parish churches, the majority of which remain in ecclesiastical use, chapels were often abandoned as their communities and supporting finances declined or disappeared. Many chantry chapels disappeared after the dissolution of their supporting communities in the 1540s. Chapels, like parish churches, have always been major features of the landscape. A significant number of surviving examples are identified as being nationally important. The sites of abandoned chapels, where positively identified, are particularly worthy of statutory protection as they were often left largely undisturbed and thus retain important information about the nature and date of their use up to their abandonment.

St Savior's Chapel survives reasonably well with a substantial fragment of the tower still standing on a sub-rectangular platform which will contain below ground remains of the chapel. The chapel was in existence by the 13th century when it was first recorded. It is also depicted on a map of the 16th century and the ruins are also shown on an 18th century engraving. One of its original functions was probably as a daymark for shipping out to sea, a function that continued until as late as 1925.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the site of a medieval chapel known as St Saviour's Chapel, at Polruan on the south coast of mid-Cornwall. St Saviour's Chapel survives as a substantial corner of the tower and a raised platform which is considered to contain the remainder of the site of the chapel in the form of buried remains. The north and west walls of the tower survive to a height of 6.73m, are approximately 1.3m wide, and are constructed of small slate rubble and cob mortar. There are traces of plaster remaining on both the interior and exterior of the west wall. On the outer wall, at the angle, is a 2m high clasping buttress, while high up in the internal angle of the tower is a wooden bar linking the two walls. The tower fragment is located on a sub-rectangular platformed mound, which extends to the south and east of the tower and probably contains the remainder of the chapel. The standing remains of the chapel are a Listed Building Grade II. The chapel was in existence before 1284 when it was included in a grant with Lanteglos by Fowey parish church to the Hospital of Bridgewater. By 1371-2 the people of Polruan had license for the chapel and maintained it. The chapel had its own chaplain which led to various disputes between the Vicar of Lanteglos and the people of Polruan. In 1455 there was an Indulgence for all those contributing to repairs to the chapel of Holy Trinity at Polruan, probably the same chapel as St Saviour's. The chapel is depicted on a map of around 1540 as a tower with crenellations, windows and a nave roofed with three windows along the south side. On Buck's engraving of 1734 the tower is shown as a ruin, only a part of the tower and east wall with a window still standing. By 1925 only the north west angle of the tower survived, although it did also serve as a daymark for shipping up to this date. The three wood and concrete benches on the south side of the mound, the coastguard lookout building and its walled enclosure on the top of the mound, the telegraph pole and the childrens' play area to the north are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 31862

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Henderson, C, The Cornish Church Guide, (1928)
Keast, J, The Story of Fowey, (1987)
Keast, J, The Story of Fowey, (1987)
Consulted July 1997, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 26739,
pp.4-6, FMW report for CO 929,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 05/15; St Austell and Fowey Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing