Lanherne, in Cornwall near Land’s End, is the ancient manor of the Arundell family, a faithful Catholic family the persevered straight through the reformation and the penal times.
The Chapel of Lanherne serves as the Roman Catholic Parish Church. It is very small, built in the style of Louis XIV, with some highly decorative features including the Bathstone altar with carved medallions depicting the Agony in the Garden, the Crucifixion and the Last Supper. Of particular interest is the Arundell sanctuary lamp. Tradition claims that it has not been extinguished since pre-Reformation days. Lanherne is the oldest Carmel in England founded by Antwerp Carmel in 1619. In that year Ven Anne of Jesus, the chosen companion of the great St Teresa, being unable to go to Antwerp in person, sent two of her community to that City to open a Convent for English Carmelites. She was assisted financially in foundation work by Lady Mary Lovel. This lady, who was left a widow in 1616, had a great desire to help Catholics persecuted at Penal times in their own country. Lady Lovel, after seeking advice decided upon the establishment of an English Carmel in Flanders. Both St Teresa and Ven Anne of Jesus loved England, and there were already three English nuns in the Order: Anne Worsley – Sister Anne of the Ascension who was sub-Prioress at Mechlin; Teresa Ward – Sister Teresa of Jesus who has just returned to Mons after being sub-Prioress at Cracow (Poland) for six years, and Clare Leithwaite – Sister Clare of Jesus who entered at Louvain. These three were sent to the new convent at Antwerp which was established in that quarter of the city called Hopland, the site having been shown by the Blessed Virgin on three different occassions to Lady Lovel, Anne Worseley, and the Provincial of the DIscalced Carmelite Friars.
The chapel is now in the hands of the Franciscan Sister’s of the Immaculate, specifically a group of twelve contemplative sisters and our friars are their chaplains.