History of the Village of Crantock
Crantock is the site of an altogether much older settlement, Langurroc, which means the “dwelling of the monks”. A college was founded here which could claim as much antiquity as any in Oxford, since it appeared to have great revenues in the Survey of 1294. It closed in 1545.
This Celtic monastery was established before the Norman conquest and was sized by the Count of Montain once they had subdued the nation. His son passed on to the Montacute Priory in Dorset in 1230.
Langurroc, or Langarrow, was an ancient city of great wealth and importance, with several churches and rich inhabitants. Criminals were transported from other parts of Britain to work in the mines here. Not allowed to dwell in the city itself, they lived in wooden huts or caves. Evidence has been fond of wood ashes and the shells of mussels and cockles, which were their food.
The Legend of Crantock
The eventual intermarriage of the convicts with the citizens’ daughters caused the population to sink to the lowest depths of vice. Legend says that the anger of the Lord fell upon them, and a sandstorm was made to blow for three days and nights, completely burying the city and its inhabitants.
If this legend is to be believed, it is curious that the church of St. Enodoc to the east and St. Piran to the west have been dug out of the sand, and significant that the Marram grass that covers the dunes was only introduced into Europe by Sir Walter Raleigh. Without the plant’s stabilising influence, the legend, as far as the sand is concerned, may have some foundation. As it is, it is held today that Crantock was founded by St. Carantacus in the 5th century.
St. Carantacus was the son of a Welsh chieftain who went to Ireland and met St. Patrick where they studied together. After parting, St. Carantoc (as he was now known) came to Cornwall in his coracle (presumably an Irish currah, or leather skinned, long, open canoe) in which he brought an altar stone and pet dove. He landed on the Gannel and the dove picked up a stick in its beak. Upon the spot that it dropped the stick, the saint established his church; the present church is on the same site.
The arrival of St. Carantoc has been celebrated through the ages on his Saint’s Day, 16th May. In mediaeval times seven chapels (probably little shrines) existed. All the churches around brought their relics and put them on the altars and masses were said throughtout the Feast Day.
People may well have used the original route of the monks travelling to the college of Crantock, by following the local crosses or cross-way markers. There are five well known crosses: at Penpol and Trevemper (both of these have their bases in place), Tolcarne, Trerew and Doublestiles.
Isles of Scilly