OS Grid ref:- SW 782256
The pretty waterside hamlet of St. Anthony-in-Meneage is situated between the Helford River and Gillan Harbour on the west side of Falmouth Bay and lies seven miles (11 km) east of market town of Helston.
The village is one of Cornwall's earliest Christian sites, dating back to the Dark Ages. Its Celtic name is Lanyntenyn suggesting the dedication to St Anthony. St.Anthony of Padua was believed to have preached to fishes, and was therefore regarded as the Patron Saint of Fishermen, Meneage means Monkish Land. Tradition tells of a cell of monks who lived next to Lantenning but this appears to have been a grange belonging to the monks of Tywardreath.
Gillan Creek is situated on the Dennis promontory, which name derives from the Cornish word 'Dinas' which means castle, this is the site of prehistoric earthworks of an early celtic fort which was recently discovered by farmer Christopher Hosken while lying pipes on his land at Boden Vean in the village. Finds from a subsequent archeological excavation of the site included Iron Age or Romano-British pottery. Sherds of Trevisker Ware pottery were unearthed including an extremely large and unusually decorated example.
There is a small beach at beautiful Gillan Creek, which is a tributary of the River Fal. St. Anthony-in-Meneage makes a good centre for boating and both sail and motor boats can be hired from the eighteenth century shop by the beach,once a fish store it has now been conerted into a boat hire business.
The historic village church of St Anthony is located by Gillan Creek.
During the Civil War the Royalists constructed a small fort on the promontary, which was finally surrendered to the Roundhead commander Sir Thomas Fairfax in March 1646, making it the last place in Cornwall that held out against the Parliamentarians, with the exception of St Michael's Mount and Pendennis Castle.
The building mainly dates from medieval times although the granite tower was constructed in the fifteenth century. The Normans erected a church here in the eleventh century, which probably occupied the site of an old Celtic Church which would probably have been constructed from wood.
Local tradition relates that the stone church was built by a group of shipwrecked Normans who having been caught in a storm whilst crossing the English Channel, were driven ashore at Gillan Creek.
During the storm, the knights, expecting they would perish, had made a vow to St Anthony that if their lives were spared, they would build a church in his honour. Adding credence to this story, the tower is in fact constructed of a fine-grained granite unknown in Cornwall, but which is found in Normandy.
The church has many interesting architectural features including the carved bosses on the fifteenth century wagon roof and the thirteenth century early Gothic architecture in the nave. There is an unusual fifteenth century inscribed granite font with angel carvings and a German carving of The Last Supper which also dates from the fifteenth century.
Cornish Towns and Villages
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