Trelawny Coffin-plate

Sir John Trelawny (14th Baront and 11th Gt. Gt. Grandson of Bishop Trelawny) and Revd Marilyn at the 30th Trelawny Day Service.

Bishop Sir Jonathan Trelawny, who died in 1721, is a man who inspired ‘The Song of the Western Man’, or as more commonly known, ‘Trelawny’, a song that has been sung for generations by the Cornish. But even the Bishop could not have imagined that almost three hundred years after his death, the re-discovery of his coffin plate would be the cause for joy and celebration. It was stolen from Pelynt Church in 2016, disappearing without trace, but through diligence, providence and some Godly coincidences, the plate has been found and returned, just in time for Trelawny Day.

Folksinger Megan Kingdom was in a charity shop, aptly named Emmaus, in Norwich, when she spotted the coffin plate and knew it wasn’t where it should be. “It looked like a memorial plaque that should be with the family or the hometown of the deceased…and I have the internet to thank for tracing its heritage and enabling me return it to its rightful home.”

Revd Marilyn Elliott, Rector of the recently re-named Benefice of Trelawny, was thrilled and likened the find to the Parable of the Lost Coin. She had fun with the discovery as she revealed it to her congregation, among whom was the current Sir John Trelawny, on Trelawny Day.

Trelawny coffin plate

The lost and now happily found Trelawny Coffin-plate

“I think God definitely had a hand in this given Megan’s surname is ‘Kingdom’, the plate was found in the Biblically named charity shop, Emmaus, and Megan’s father has great experience with Norwich Museum – which meant this delicate piece of our community’s heritage was packaged with great care and delivered to us safely.”

History tells us that the coffin plate was originally removed from the coffin that sat in the family vault in 1882 together with other plates that were then hung on the east wall of the Trelawny aisle in Pelynt Church. The theft was discovered in October 2016.

As Revd Marilyn says, “Just as in the parable, there was and is much celebration for that which was lost and has now been found.”