A Brief History of St. Stephen's Church, Launceston

Mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1085-86, St. Stephen's began as a Collegiate Church, founded by King Athelstan, (895-939 AD).

In Anglo-Saxon times there was a monastery here dedicated to St Stephen whose canons owned the surrounding land including the town of Launceston. A Mint was established, adjacent to the church, as early as the reign of Aethelred II, in 976 AD. Prior to his death in 1137, Bishop William de Warelwast, the then Bishop of Exeter built a Priory in the valley below St. Stephen's and installed there, Augustinian monks. The Priory existed between 1129 and 1539. During this period, the Monks of the Priory also visited and taught at St. Stephens, staying in the Monks Chamber. Little more is known until the church was rebuilt and dedicated on 23rd. October 1259. The church of St Stephen has retained its importance and remained the mother church of many of the surrounding parishes. It is an outreach centre for 'Open the Book' in the local primary schools and has become a 'Messy Church' to encourage the populace of the nearby housing estates to attend.

Written for a community event, by Brian Laseby