Laneast: The Dedication

The Church is dedicated to St Sidwell and St Gulvat. St Sidwell is the Patron saint of Exeter; she was the daughter of Benna, an 8th century landowner. Her head was cut off with a scythe when taking food to farm workers. Apparently her murderers were paid by her jealous stepmother. Where her head fell a spring sprang up and this became a site of pilgrimage. When Laneast was rededicated in 1436 by Bishop Lacy the parishioners were instructed to keep the feast of St Sidwell.  The joint dedication to St. Gulvat is thought to possibly be a medieval clerical error, confusing Laneast with the parish of Lanestly, near Penzance,  also known as Gulval. There is confusion over who St Gulvat or St Gulval was.  Sabine Baring-Gould thought she was Wilgitha, the sister of St Juthwara. The original form of the name may have been Welvela or Wolvela. If she were the sister of St Juthwara that would also make her the sister to St Sidwell. In truth, no-one now knows who St Gulvat was. And in fact, the dedication in 1436 was to St Sidwell (Sativola) and St Thomas the Martyr.