Parish History

Laneast “Lannast” is a small Cornish village situated in North-East Cornwall about 7 miles west of Launceston (Google maps).  It is bounded on the North by the Parishes of Treneglos and Tresmeer, on the East by Egloskerry and Trewen, on the South by Altarnun, and on the West by St Clether.   The name comes from “Lann”, church site followed by a geographical reference to its position relative to the older St Clether site.  The main villages are the Churchtown and Badgall.

Laneast village sits above the valley of the River Inny and has many ancient rights of way which cross surrounding farm land and Laneast Downs.  These are fully maintained today providing many wonderful walks.

Beating the Bounds is an ancient tradition dating back to Norman and Saxon times and is still upheld today.

The Parish Church is dedicated to St Sidwell and St Gulval or to St Michael.  The inclusion of St Gulval in the dedication is due to a mistake by Dr Oliver who understood entries referring to the church of “St Wolvela of Lanestly” as referring to Laneast, whereas “Lanestly” is the old name of Gulval.  The church and the cemetery were dedicated by Edmund Lady, Bishop of Exeter in 1436.

John Couch AdamsThe Norman Church was cruciform and additions were made in the 13th and 14th centuries, during the 15th century the south aisle and tower were completed and the church was embellished with fine oak woodwork and stained glass.  Considerable restoration took place in 1848, but much of the late medieval woodwork and glass remains.

In the field opposite the Church is the Holy Well.  “Jordan Well” used for divination and until comparatively recently, for baptism. St.Sidwell is the patron saint of reapers; she was decapitated with a scythe!

The only claim to fame in Laneast is John Couch Adams, a mathematical genius who became Professor of Mathematics at St John’s College, Cambridge.  He was born at Lidcott Farm in this Parish in 1819.  He went on to become a famous Astronomer and discovered the planet Neptune.

Lidcott Mining – to the North East of the parish is Lidcott mine, a 19th century opencast manganese mine and is also of great historical and geological significance.