Oliver's Cornwall
Churches, Holy Wells & Saints

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ON THIS PAGE
Blisland Church
Bodmin, St. Petroc
Cardinham, St. Meubred
Church Cove, St. Winwaloe
Crowan, St.Crewenna
Golant, St. Sampson
Hannet, St. Juliot
Kilkhampton, St. James
Laneast
Lanivet
Lanteglos by Camelford
Lanteglos by Fowey
Launceston, St. Mary's
Lelant, St. Uny
Morwenstow, St. John
Old Kea
Perranzabuloe
Redruth, St. Euny
St. Austell
St. Breock
St. Breward
St. Buryan
St. Clement
St. Dennis
St. Endellion
St. Erth
St. Ives, St. Ia
St. Just-in-Penwith
St. Just-in-Roseland
St. Keverne
St. Levan
St. Minver Parish
St. Neot, St. Anietus
Temple Church
Tintagel, St. Materiana
Towednack, St. Winwaloe
Trebetherick, St. Enodoc
Wendron, St. Wendrona
Zennor, St. Senara
 OTHER SITES AND SAINTS
Come-to-Good Meeting House
Gwennap Pit
Holywell
Menacuddle Well
Sancreed
 Wesley's Cottage
St. Constantine
St. Petroc
 St. Piran
St. Piran's Oratory
 St. Piran's Church
St. Clederus Chapel
St. Euny's Well
St. Levan's Well

CORNWALL REVIEWS INDEX and SITE CONTENTS

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© Copyright Oliver Howes 2014
Page updated 02 November 2014


Anglican Churches

Blisland, the Church of St. Protus and St. Hyacinth

Blisland is an attractive small village set just below the western edge of Bodmin Moor.  Most unusually the village centres around a large green, something you would have associated more with English shire counties than with Cornwall.  Although there are some weekend homes here, there is quite a feeling of community in Blisland.  Fund raising has seen a new primary school built and now the lost village stores and post office have been replaced by a new shop combining the two plus doctor's surgery, internet café and more.  The pub on the green has a good reputation for its real ales.  Architecture is typical of Bodmin Moor villages and even some new homes are granite faced.  Highlight of Blisland is its church with the odd dedication to Saints Protus and Hyacinth;  despite the latter's name, the two were apparently brothers.  Outside, the church is typically Cornish with its squat tower and same height nave and aisle.  Walk in and you might well be in a pre-Reformation church, faced as you are by a colourful rood screen, complete with rood, and chancel and chapel each with an elaborate reredos.  All this was part of an 1894 restoration.  There is a handsome Jacobean pulpit and the uneven roof timbers have carved bosses.  The Blisland Inn is a pleasant and welcoming village local, open all day.  We were very glad of its refreshments on a Camel Trail walk.  For a little more sophistication, eat at the Old Inn at St. Breward.
St. Protus & St. Hyacinth, Blisland
Parking by the village green near the church
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St. Petroc's Bodmin

The first Christian foundation in Bodmin was that of St. Guron around 500 AD;  his well is under the little granite building by the west end.  St. Petroc came from Wales in around 530 AD, founded churches in Cornwall and Brittany, took over St. Guron's cell in Bodmin and is considered father of the Cornish church.  Padstow, where he founded his first settlement, is named for him - St. Petroc's holy place.  The greatest treasure in Bodminís church is Saint Petroc's reliquary casket, made around 1170.  His remains have had a chequered history;  moved from Padstow in the 10th century, they were stolen by French monks but returned in the elaborate ivory and gold casket, now on display in the church.  The casket was lost, rediscovered, put on display in 1957, then lost again only to turn up on a Yorkshire moor.  Enter by a handsome porch, above it two priestís rooms.  Within the church are some unusual features;  an impressive carved Norman font, a lantern cross, 16th century painted panels, the fine Vivian tomb and an unusual lectern, apparently made from old benchends.  To the north east of the church are the ruins of the chantry chapel of St. Thomas aíBecket.  Once the county town of Cornwall, now superseded by Truro, Bodmin is the terminus of the Bodmin & Wenford steam railway. 
St. Petroc's Church, East End
No parking outside but ample nearby
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St. Meubred Cardinham

At the far south-western corner of Bodmin Moor, Cardinham's church is dedicated to St. Meubred, an Irish priest killed in Rome but buried at Cardinham.  In the churchyard are two fine Cornish  crosses, the older of the 8th century.  Inside, elaborate bench ends look as if they may have been part of a rood screen demolished at the Reformation.  There is also a handsome Tudor dark oak sideboard.  Cardinham Castle was built by William the Conqueror's half-brother Robert de Mortain (he also built Launceston Castle).  Of this only skeletal earthworks survive;  they are on private property and it is probably not worth trying to gain access to such a minor site.  A mile to the north, on  St. Bellarmin's Tor, are what are claimed to be the remains of a small chapel;  a Bodmin Moor walk includes it.
St. Meubred's Church
 
Ancient Cornish Cross
Carved Bench End
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St. Winwaloe's at Church Cove on the Lizard
Follow a lane off the main Helston to Lizard road, through Gunwalloe, past the excellent Halzephron Inn and down to the coast, and you will come to Church Cove, set below Mullion Golf Course.  There the little church of St. Winwaloe is tucked into the foot of the dunes.   Winwaloe was born in Brittany of Cornish parents in the sixth century.  The present church  is mostly in the perpendicular gothic style.  Inside are two earlier fonts and tiny rood stairs are still in place.  Two inner doors are painted with the figures of eight of the apostles.  Beyond the south porch a tower looks defensive but is really a detached bell-tower.  By the porch is a figure of St. Winwaloe.  In one corner of the churchyard is a Cornish cross.  There is car parking nearby.  Other Winwaloe locations include St. Winnow, Towednack and Poundstock.
St. Winwaloe's tucked into lovely Church Cove
The detached Bell Tower
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St. Crewenna's Crowan
Crowan is an attractive little village with buildings speaking of its former importance as the St. Aubyn family's 'churchtown'.  Victorian gothic Church House, presumably the former rectory, is now divided in two.  Coverack House (that might be a new name) is handsomely Georgian with a plain porch.  Down the hill towards Praze is an attractive converted mill building, still complete with its waterwheel.  St. Crewenna is thought to have come from Ireland, possibly with St. Breaca (of Breage) but nothing is known of him/her.  Crowan village (as a 'chuchtown') was once the focus of the great Clowance estate of the St. Aubyn family.  The family have departed for St. Michael's Mount (as Lords St. Levan) and Pencarrow (as the Molesworth-St. Aubyns).  Clowance itself is a now a timeshare, country club and golf club.  From the outside the (probably) 14th century church looked rather dull when I visited it on a Land's End Trail walk from Beacon to Clowance.  The interest is in the memorials to the St. Aubyns inside.  Earliest is the remnant of brasses of around 1420.  Most elaborate is that of 1772 to Sir John St. Aubyn by sculptor Joseph Wilton.  I liked the delightful collage tapestry telling the story of the village and neighbouring estate villages such as the mining settlement of Praze-an-Beeble.
Crowan, St. Crewenna's church
Crowan is signed off B3303 Camborne-Helston
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St. Sampson Golant
I encountered the church of St. Sampson, perched high on a hill above its village of Golant on the River Fowey, while walking the Saints Way in June 2006.  St. Sampson became Abbot of Caldey Island near Tenby in Wales and was ordained Bishop by St. Dubricius.  Soon after, an angelic vision told him to cross the sea.  Above the River Fowey he founded a small monastic settlement by a well.  Travelling on to Brittany he became Bishop of Dol.   He was said to give sight to the blind, heal lepers and cast out devils.  His holy well is just to the left of the porch which itself may originally have been a chapel for the well. 
Rebuilt in 1509, the church has a fairly unprepossing exterior:  nave and aisle, stubby tower and small porch.  Inside are two handsome wagon roofs and a small amount of original stained glass, some depicting St. Sampson and St. Anthony.  Sadly, unlike so many Cornish churches, there are no original bench ends.  Happily, some were re-used to create the present pulpit and an elaborate chair, not unlike a minor bishop's throne.  Beneath one window, a slate slab remembers Edmund Constable -  'Short blaze of life, meteor of pride, essayed to live but liked it not and died'.  Legend has it that King Mark and Queen Yseult worshipped at St. Sampson's church.
St. Sampson's.  The holy well is to left of the porch Golant is signed from the A3082, about 3 miles before Fowey
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St. Juliot, Hannett near Boscastle
I had been to St. Juliot church several years ago but only briefly.  Wanting to report on its Thomas Hardy connection, I included it in a Valency Valley round walk from Boscastle in June 2008.  In 1870, the year Hardy came to St. Juliot, he was not yet a published writer but was practising as an architect.  The church was in disrepair and he was to make preparations for its restoration.  At the Rectory he met Emma Gifford, the rector's sister-in-law and fell in love with her.  They married in 1874.  Hardy's sojourn at St. Juliot was the inspiration for A Pair of Blue Eyes and Poems of 1912-13.   St. Juliot church is attractive enough from the outside but, despite retention of the south porch and the south aisle (now the nave), despite re-use of original material and despite careful selection of new materials, the inside disappoints, looking like just another Victorian over-restoration.  All that interests inside is the Hardy connection:  a memorial tablet to him and another, which he himself designed, to Emma;  two of his drawings, one of her watercolours;  and a superb engraved glass window by Simon Whistler.  The window depicts Hardy's journey to Cornwall, the church, Beeny Cliff and waterfalls in the Valency Valley.  There are three Cornish crosses in the churchyard and coffin rests on the stile up from the field.
From Boscastle take B3263 east and turn right after 2 miles
St. Juliot church, original porch and nave, new tower
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St. James, Kilkhampton

Once you get north of Camelford, although still in Cornwall for more than 25 miles, the Anglo-Saxon rather than Celtic place names might make you think you were in England.  The coastline with its soaring cliffs would tell you otherwise;  so would the churches, of which St. James Kilkhampton is a fine example.  Intriguingly, although almost all the church dates from the late 15th and early 16th centuries, you enter through a Norman doorway at least 300 years older.  Inside, the thing that takes your eye is the remarkabe woodwork of the pews - and their age.  Until the Reformation in the 16th century there was no seating in churches.  The pews that you see here are almost all the original seating (a few are Victorian replicas), made soon after the Reformation.  As in so many Cornish churches they are elaborately carved, 157 separate carved pieces altogether!  Some are religious, like the one on the right, some heraldic, commemorating local families like the Grenvilles and the Thynnes, some are of animals, of fish and of the tools of trade.  The font is an oddity;  it carries the Grenville arms the right way up but the initials of the contemporary Grenvilles, Roger and Margaret, upside down!  It is also worth following the lane, just north of the church, west for a mile to find the earthworks of a Norman 'motte and bailey' castle. 
St. James, Kilkhampton
'Judas' Bench End
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Laneast Church
Encountered whilst walking the Inny Valleys Trail, Laneast (2 miles north of Altarnun) is another of those churches about which I have been able to find out almost nothing - even the name Laneast is the subject of dispute.  Nonetheless, it is worth taking a look at for the handsome four-hole cross by the porch, a complete collection of carved bench ends, sadly in very poor condition, an intriguing font with corbel heads at each corner, and some rare medieval glass in the east window.
A bench end
 
The font
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Lanivet Church near Bodmin
I found Lanivet church when walking the Saints Way.  Its dedication is odd.  The church's own guide leaflet suggests the dedication is to St. Nivet, daughter of Welsh King Brychan, or to St. Nevet, a Breton.  On the other hand the Church of England officially declares it dedicated to St. Ia, who gave her name to St. Ives.  Sadly the church is also a something of a disappointment;  a handsome, typically Cornish, 15th century church in the Decorated style, ruined by over improvement by the Victorians, who scraped many frescoes and removed original stained glass.  The reason to visit Lanivet church is the wonderful collection of stonework dotted around inside and out.  By the porch is a 10th century 'hogback' tomb slab.  Behind the church are a 13th century four-hole Cornish cross and a 10th century wheel cross.  Inside the church are some fascinating memorials.  One from the 5th or 6th century commemorates 'Annicu'.  A portrait tomb slab in the vestry to a Courtney (perhaps related to the Earls of Devon) dates from 1560;  another Courtney was added to it in 1632, surely not the brother the guide leaflet claims.  A nearby tomb slab features gilded angels.  Pulpit and reredos are both Victorian but attractive.
5/6th century Annicu stone
 
Courtney memorial slab
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St. Julitta, Lanteglos-by-Camelford
In November 2008 Jane and I were invited to join the Camel Ramblers on their AGM Day at Juliot's Well Holiday Park between Camelford and Lanteglos.  An enjoyable day began with a walk that took in Lanteglos and Castle Goff.  It was a pretty wet day and time pressed so we didn't linger anywhere on the way.  There seemed to be a lot of interest in the area so, a few days later, I returned in sun to take a closer look at Lanteglos Church and Castle Goff, and to find St. Julitta's Well.   I was delighted that I did because the interest was immense.  The church at Lanteglos (church in the valley) is dedicated to St. Julitta, yet another of the saintly offspring of prolific Welsh King Brychan.  The nave, south aisle and tower are largely late 15th century, in the Perpendicular Gothic style, though there are some traces of the Norman church.  The interior was ruined by Victorian 'restoration'  but there are some early glass fragments and an attractively carved pulpit.  The big attraction outside is the collection of Cornish crosses near the porch and a memorial pillar whose inscription translates as 'Elsneth and Cencreth wrought this family pillar for Aelwyne's soul and for themselves.'   St. Julitta's holy well is in the grounds of nearby Juliot's Well Holiday Park.  The former rectory is now the Lanteglos Hotel.
St. Julitta's granite glints silver in the sun
Ask at Juliot's Well holiday park for directions to the well
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St. Wyllow, Lanteglos-by-Fowey

Encountered on a walk around Fowey and Polruan, St. Wyllow's is a delight.  Daphne du Maurier thought so, too, and married Boy Browning here in 1932.  Located between Bodinnick and Polruan, it is hidden high in a valley.  The only nearby habitation is Churchtown Farm.  The brass on the left commemorates Thomas Mohun, 15th century lord of the manor.  The former Mohun pew is now a panel in the south aisle.  Bench ends are superb, among Cornwall's finest (and that is saying somehing).   I particularly like this one on the right portraying an eel and two fish.  Outside the south porch is an unusual 'lantern' cross;  nearby is the stump of another.  Whilst you may like to visit by car we much prefer to visit St. Wyllow's in the course of an enjoyable Fowey and Polruan walk, which we have done several times and which also offers superb views of Fowey and the Fowey River, and the chance to see fascinating Pont Pill.
Mohun Brass
 
Fish Bench End
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St. Mary Magdalene's Church, Launceston

With so grand a church at its heart, you would expect that the present Launceston town would be the original settlement.  However, the name Launceston is a corruption of Lan Stephan, still applied to the earlier settlement on the north side of the valley of the River Kensey - and the suburb's church, dedicated to St. Stephen, is itself quite grand.  Of  St. Mary Magdalene's church in modern Launceston, the exterior is the significant part;  only the 15th century painted pulpit stands out inside.  Rebuilt in the early 16th century the exterior is a monument to the great skills of Cornish stone carvers.  Nothing is more difficult to work than granite, yet the whole is covered in elaborate decoration, the south porch most of all;  motifs include quatrefoils, flowers, Latin mottoes, the arms of Sir Henry Trecarrel and his wife, the Duke of Cornwall's feathers, figures of St. George and the dragon, of St. Martin of Tours and a figure of Mary Magdalene carved not in stone but terracotta.  A church well worth seeing, most of all for its superb exterior.
View from the Southeast - the off-axis tower is earlier
 
Review of Launceston Town
Review of Launceston Castle
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St. Uny Lelant
I had walked past St. Uny previously when on the coast path between Hayle and St. Ives.  On this occaion in early June 2006 I was walking the first stage of St. Michael's Way, which actually begins at the church.  So I decided I should start by looking in and around the church.  St. Uny, also known as St. Euny, was one of those peripatetic holy men of Cornwall about whom nothing is known except the various dedications to him, in this case including the mother church of the parish of Redruth.  Oddly, while the church is dedicated to Uny, the parish name may be taken from an earlier holy man named Anta.  The present chuch dates mostly from the 15th century, though there is one original Norman arch to the Lady Chapel.  Like those at Perran Sands and St. Enodoc, it suffered regular inundation by drifting sand.  Inside there is not a great deal of historic interest except for a couple of 17th century slate memorial slabs, a (probably) Norman font and rood stairs, not removed in restorations.  The real interest is outside where there are several ancient Cornish crosses and the most wonderful views, taking in Hayle Sands, Godrevy Light and Hayle Harbour.   Entertainingly, there is also a golf course which comes right up to the churchyard. 
There is a small amount of parking outside
The church of St. Uny Lelant
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Morwenstow, St. John the Baptist and St. Morwenna
Morwenstow's church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist and to its putative founder St. Morwenna, possibly a daughter of Welsh King Brychan, is unusual in more ways than one.  It must be just about Cornwall's least accessible church, a full five miles from the nearest road of any significance and in the county's most northerly parish.  Of Norman origin (though there must have been an earlier church here), although restored in Victorian times, it retains a fair amount of Norman work, notably in the porch and the north arcade.  And finally, for 40 years from 1834, it had as its vicar the remarkable Robert Stephen Hawker, poet and free spirit, who was responsible for much of the restoration of the church and who chose to bury shipwrecked sailors, of whom there were many in these dangerous seas, in his churchyard rather than, as was the custom, on the shore where they were washed up. 
Worth noting inside the church are the unusual and very early Norman font, the screen and rood which Hawker restored, and a degraded wall painting believed to represent St. Morwenna.  Outside, look at the lych gate and its adjacent lych house, at the figurehead of the Caledonia, and in early spring, the most amazing display of daffodils.  And do walk to the cliff, turn left and seek out Hawker's Hut, where Parson Hawker wrote his poetry.
Morwenstow church in the evening sun
For the churchyard at daffodil time, see Morwenstow village
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Old Kea Church
I discovered this oddity when I extended a walk around some Fal creeks to include the Truro River at Malpas.  As I walked down a field from Trevean I could see a church tower.  When I got there I found that the tower is all that remains of the medieval church that once stood here.  Old Kea was an inconvenient location and as far back as 1531 royal licence had been granted to build a new church but All Hallows Kea, three miles away at Killiow, didn't get built until 1802.  The old church was partly demolished but some of its stone was re-used to build a poorhouse on the site.  This was later incorporated into the present small Victorian church that you see today.  Outside is an early cylindrical cross shaft.  Inside is a medieval font, set in a cross base, alongside it a small cross head.  St. Kea is one of those Cornish saints to whom several legends attach.  Rather like the better known St. Piran he is supposed to have floated over from Ireland on a boulder, landing at Churchtown Creek on the Truro River.  In fact it is more probable that he was Cornish born, rose through the church hierarchy to become a bishop, resigning to found a cell here.  He is said to have died in Brittany in AD495.  Legend also records him as King Arthur's knight Sir Kay!
2 miles east of A39.  Take Calenick turn just south of Truro.
The Victorian church at Old Kea
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St. Piran's Perranzabuloe
This is effectively the fourth church of St. Piran in the Perranporth area.  A chapel, probably built by St. Piran himself in the late 5th century, on Penhale Sands above Perranporth beach, was replaced in the following century by a small oratory.  Sometime around 1250, encroaching sand led to abandonment and a new church was built further inland and higher up.  The oratory was lost under the sand, excavated in 1843, protected by a concrete shell in 1910 and reburied in 1980.  The new church was itself lost to the sand in 1804 - it was re-excavated in 2005 - and yet another church built further inland at  Perranzabuloe (meaning Piran in the sands, odd since there are no sands here).  From the outside you would think you were looking, not at an early 19th century church, but at a genuinely medieval one.  Perhaps the builders were constrained by re-using a lot of material from the church on the sands.  Anyway, the result is very much in the perpendicular style.  Inside is tall, light and airy with a few features from the old church - a 15th century granite font, rood screen panels, bench ends and a couple of worn slate memorial slabs.  You may wonder at the enormous graveyard, but it serves the whole of Perranporth.  It is a pity that the church is only open for a few hours each Wednesday in summer only. 
See also St Piran and Piran church archaelogical dig
St. Piran's church seen from the lych gate
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St. Euny, Redruth Churchtown

We first saw St. Euny Church, from a distance, when we were doing a short walk on Carn Brea hill above Camborne and Redruth.  Later, when we walked the full Great Flat Lode trail, we detoured to take a look at the church.  At that time the church was closed and the tower hidden by scaffolding during a major restoration.  But we found the whole place both atmospheric and unusual and promised to return.  We did so in May 2005 when St. Euny's church was holding its annual Flower Festival. 
This a remarkable place in many ways.  The original church was founded in the 6th century by Irish monk St. Euny (see also St. Uny, Lelant).  Nothing remains of that and the oldest part is now the restored Tudor tower.  Inside is a complete and unexpected Georgian interior, light and airy, its windows more than a little reminiscent of those in mine engine houses. 
But it is the churchyard that really takes your interest.  St. Euny was the miners' church and the churchyard is filled with their tombs, all of granite, each carved with just a family name.  Michell was clearly a prominent mining family as several tombs bear their name.  The lych gate has a massive coffin rest.  Mine accidents would often kill more than one and the rest was to support two coffins waiting to be borne into the church. 
Open only for Sunday services and Thursday p.m. 
St. Euny's church, Tudor tower, Georgian body
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Holy Trinity, St. Austell
St. Austell is probably nobody's favourite Cornish town, particularly since the advent of the much maligned White River shopping development in the town centre.  However, the centre of the old town has its attractions, particularly the little enclave surrounding Holy Trinity church, an enclave that includes the old market hall and several atractive pubs.  The church is especially handsome on the outside so it is a pity that one's view of it is partly obscured by trees.  The tower, essentially 15th century and typically Cornish but of the type sometimes known as a 'Somerset' tower, is handsomely pinnacled but its finest feature is the superb carvings that decorate its four facesthe Trinity, four apostles, the Annunciation and the Risen Christ.  The porch, too, has elaborate carvings: angels and carved shields.  The interior, earlier than the tower, was over-restored (as so often) by Street in 1872, and disappoints though there are handsome wagon roofs.  There is a Norman font and a Norman piscina.  Sadly there are only a very few original bench ends though what may be the original delicate lace-like rood screen survives under the tower arch.  There is an urn monument to Joseph Sawle (see Menacuddle Well) by Isbell;  could this be Digory Isbell, stonemason of Trewint, whose cottage is a museum to John Wesley?
The very Cornish tower of Holy Trinity
From A390, turn N from the Mevagissey roundabout. 
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St. Breock Church in St. Breock village
That this tiny hamlet has such an impressive church may be because it was once in the important manor of Pawton and was the mother church of Wadebridge.  Outside is odd;  the porch should be on the south side but this is tucked close into the hill so the porch is on the north side.  Inside are the expected wagon roofs and some handsome memorials;  best is the beautiful Vyell tomb of 1598, dismantled and displayed on the wall of St. Michael's Chapel.  Other interesting memorials include brasses and slates and the 13th century tomb of a priest, perhaps the first at this church which was completed in 1259.  I visited in March 2007, on my way home from exploring antiquities on St. Breock Downs.
The north side of St. Breock Church
By a narrow lane from Tollgate roundabout on A39 at Wadebridge
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St. Brueredus, St.Breward
Visited during a Bodmin Moor walk, there was no guide leaflet so I can tell you little history except that the Cornish claim that it was founded by St. Brueredus, Jersey believes it was their St. Branwallader.  Inside, there may be only two carved bench ends - in the choir - but there are three superb painted carved stone panels from the former rood screen, Norman nave columns and a charming carved wood pulpit.  There is also a handsome slate memorial (I couldn't read who to) dated 1609, with two kneeling figures. 
Porch of St. Breward Church
Painted screen panel
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St. Burian's Church, St. Buryan

St. Burian, said to have been the daughter of an Irish king, is thought to have landed in St. Ives in the early 6th century and founded a chapel here on the site of the church which now bears her name.  In the 10th century, this was made a collegiate church by English King Athelstan, and granted sanctuary rights by him.  This might support the tradition that the village of St. Buryan was at one time something of a convict colony. 
St. Burian's church stands on a mound, a suggestion of antiquity, and is larger than you might expect of a small village - but the population is far smaller than in its mining heyday.  The present church is largely 15th and 16th century and has some outstanding features.  Inside is a beautiful carved screen, still painted in its original colours of red, green and gold.  Although partly destroyed in the reformation, what remains is impressive. An unusually shaped early font is of Ludgvan granite, carved with figures of three angels.  In the chancel are two pairs of oak miserere stalls.  Under the tower a tomb slab to the wife of a Norman knight dates from 1119.  Outside, the porch, as at St. Just-in-Penwith, matches the tower, battlemented and pinnacled.  In the churchyard is an ancient cross head.  Another is outside the churchyard, near a great mounting-block.
Visited during a figure-of-eight walk from St. Buryan
St. Burian's church, note cross head and mounting block
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St. Clement near Truro
Less than two miles from the heart of Truro, St. Clement might be another world entirely.  Reached by a quiet and narrow lane, it nestles above the tidal Tresillian River, its wooded banks a haunt of herons.  Jane and I revisited after more than thirty years and, for the first time, took a close look at the church.  The delightful churchyard is entered through an unusual lych gate, rooms above it and a filled-in coffen stile, like a great granite cattle grid, beneath your feet.  The churchyard, itself part of a wildlife project, is full of ancient tomb stones with sentimental inscriptions.  Near the south porch is a remarkable survival, an eleven foot high granite pillar, twice used as a 6th century memorial, re-cut as a Celtic Cross and later used as a gate-post.  Inside is a pulpit of green serpentine, a 14th century font and a rather touching marble memorial to Samuel Thomas.  A one mile, sometimes muddy, walk down-river brings you to the village of Malpas and its Heron Inn.  A pleasant, but not usually muddy, walk up-river brings you to Tresillian village just east of Truro.  A walk uphill and across fields brings you to Boscawen Park on the Truro River just on the south side of Truro city centre.  There is a small amount of parking at the creek below the church.
A round walk includes St. Clement and Malpas.
 St. Clement and the Tresillian River from above
 Off the A39 at the Trafalgar roundabout in Truro
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St. Dennis
Driving along the A30, past Goss Moor to the west of Bodmin, if you look south towards china clay country, you will see a hill topped by a tight circle of deciduous trees, a church tower protruding above them.  This is St. Dennis church, oddly well north of the village of St. Dennis, one of the largest china clay villages.  In July 2008 I had finished a walk from Goss Moor and decided to take a look at the church.  A very rural route took me through Tregoss, Enniscsaven, Gothers and Carne to climb the hill to the church.  The church itself is of little interest, restored after a recent fire - and locked anyway.  What is special about it is that it is said to stand within an iron age hill fort.  It is a very strange site.  The churchyard is surrounded by a massive stone wall, 10 feet high in places and up to 6 feet wide.  Another wall creates a courtyard to its south.  Inside the wall the land on the north and west sides is higher than the wall, yet the church is set down in a hollow.  Trees completely surround it.  Some suggest that the wall follows the course of the hill fort wall.  If so, why is the land inside higher?  And if it was a hill fort, why so small.  Perhaps it was an outlier of Castle-an-Dinas, clearly visible 3 miles to the north.  Entertainingly, like St. Juliot church, you can approach the churchyard by a massive stile from the field to the west.  Views from the site are superb and panoramic.
St. Dennis is signed from the A30 at Indian Queens
Trees and a massive stone wall surround the church.
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St. Endellion
In August 2006 I planned a walk from Chapel Amble, almost to the north coast and back, for the express purpose of getting to see Roscarrock, an ancient manor near Port Isaac that had featured as Ross Poldark's home in the TV Poldark series.  By happy coincidence, I called in to St. Endellion church, too, to discover there a Roscarrock chapel and a memorial to the long-departed Roscarrocks.  My walk proved not only longer than expected - I lost my way on the return - but included even more interest in some historic stones at Long Cross.  As so often with Cornish churches, there is dispute about this church's origins.  One authority will tell you that it was founded by St. Endellienta, another by St. Delian and only later dedicated to Endellienta, one of the many holy offspring of Welsh King Brychan.  Be that as it may, a summer music festival has brought fame to the church and a renowned string quartet has been named for it.  Inside there are some good bench ends (on new pews), a fine slate memorial to the Roscarrocks, a rhyme about bell-ringing (the bells are famous) and, most importantly, what is probably the base of what was once the shrine of St. Endellienta.  If you are in need of refreshment, try the excellent nearby Trevathan Farm Shop nearby - they grow superb strawberries. 
St. Endellion Church
St. Endellion is on B3314 from Wadebridge
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St. Erth
Walking the second stage of the Land's End Trail, I finished up in St. Erth and was pleasantly surprised to find a delightful church.  According to the church guide, St Erth (or Erc or Ercus) was Irish, a brother of St. Ia and St. Uny and a close friend of St. Patrick.  Tradition has it that he is buried beneath the church.  Outside St. Erth church is conventionally Cornish with its three-stage pinnacled tower, same height nave and two aisles, and decorated and perpendicular windows.  Inside is quite a surprise.  Wooden barrel vaulted roofs have elaborate bosses and, at the chancel end, painted decoration.  Corbels carry carved stone heads and two carved angels look out of dormer windows.  The Trewinnard Chapel, in the south aisle, is colourful with painted roof and bosses, a gilded altar and reredos and a beautifully carved screen.  The chancel, too, is colourful with more roof decoration, painted carved oak reredos and a good stained glass window.  The surprise is that all this elaboration is late Victorian and Edwardian.  There are associations with Harveys of Hayle;  it was here that Richard Trevithick married John Harvey's daughter Jane.  There are two Cornish crosses in the churchyard, one close to the porch, the other incorporated in a grave.  A most unusual cross stands in the square in the village, its head rectangular but not in the form of a lantern.
St. Erth church seen across the little Hayle River
After my Land's End Trail walk that finished in St. Erth, I read the guide book and realised that I had missed a lot in the graveyard.  So I returned a week later in December 2007, when also visiting Cape Cornwall and Towednack Church.  The graveyard is large and well stocked with graves.  Most significant are those of the Harvey family (of Harvey's of Hayle) and of the related Trevithick family.  Richard Trevithick married John Harvey's daughter Jane;  it is a shame that he is not here but in an unmarked grave in Dartford, Kent.  By the south-east corner of the church is a handsome chest tomb.  There are two Cornish crosses, one near the south-east corner of the church, another topping a tomb to the north side of the church.  There are also a couple of cast iron crosses, marking (I think) graves of children.
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St.Ia's Church in St. Ives

As so often in Cornwall, this church commemorates an Irish saint, this one reputedly arriving sailing on a leaf.  From the east end, standing on the harbour wall, you appear to be looking at a unique church, of a nave and three equal-height aisles.  It is only when you move to the south side that you discover that this is indeed the standard Cornish plan of nave and two equal-height aisles. The fourth gable, on the south side, is actually that of a small Lady Chapel.  Built, unusually in granite country, of a local sandstone, this is a most handsome church.  It is all of a period - 1410 to 1426 - except for the slightly later Lady Chapel and porch.  The impressive tower rises to some 90 feet. 
Inside are typically Cornish wagon roofs, decorated with bosses and angels, fine carved stonework, a pulpit faced with re-used carved bench ends, and choir stalls carved with local scenes.  The rood loft has gone but the rood stairs are still in place by the Lady Chapel, in which is a Barbara Hepworth Madonna and Child, commemorating her son, in front of it steel candlesticks which she designed.  Also inside, rather surprisingly, a notice reads 'Some people will tell you that at the Reformation the Church of England ceased to be Catholic and became Protestant.  Do not believe it.'
St. Ia's church from the Remembrance Garden
Short review and photos of St. Ives
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St. Just-in-Penwith
Much of the early history of the Celtic Church is lost in the mists of time but, if the guide book on sale in the church is to be believed, this must be one of the earliest Christian sites in Cornwall.  St. Just himself seems to have been Prince Iestyn, one of the sons of of Gereint, a 5th century Cornish King of Dumnonia.  And this is said to be the site of his church or cell.  Whatever the truth of that, St. Just is certainly a very early Christian location to judge by some of the inscribed stones with Chi-Ro symbols found locally, one of which, the late 5th century Selus stone is on display in the church. 
The church is typically Cornish, with nave, south aisle, substantial tower and an impressive pinnacled porch.  It is no surprise that it is built of the local granite.  It dates partly from 1334 with later additions and alterations of the 14th and 15th centuries.  In addition to the Selus stone, other things worth looking out for inside the church include the remains of the rood stairs (the rood loft and screen are long gone), and a 9th century Hiberno Romanesque carved stone, once part of a cross.  But the real treasure is the pair of 15th century frescos on the north wall, one of Christ of the Trades, the other of St. George and the Dragon.  What a crying shame that, in the 19th century restoration, walls were otherwise insensitively scraped bare.
The south aisle and the impressive porch
Best by B3306 scenic coast road from St. Ives
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St. Just-in-Roseland Church

I must confess a special interest in the church at St. Just-in-Roseland.  For twenty years my father's cousin Bertie was rector of the parish of St. Just.  As children we enjoyed family summer holidays staying with Bertie and Marjorie at the rectory, just across the road from the church (it's now the Old Rectory and a private home).  Jane knows it well too, having lived just a few miles away at Gerrans.  The church has a long history, reputed to have been founded by St. Anthony in the 6th century on a spot said to have been visited by tin merchant Joseph of Arimathea and his nephew Jesus!  Remarkably, although the Celtic Church submitted to the rule of Rome in 664 AD, St. Just remained Celtic until the middle of the 10th century.  The church  is attractive from the outside but is disappointing inside, having been over-restored in the 19th century.  The real attraction is the location, deep in a wooded valley with the waters of a little creek lapping the churchyard walls below the lower lych gate - unusually there are two lych gates - and the sub-tropical garden planted in the sloping churchyard by an enterprising Victorian rector.  The churchyard is sufficiently steep that from the upper lych gate you are looking over the church tower.  The church is easy to find;  a sign on the road to St. Mawes points to St. Just Church and Bar - perhaps an illustration of thirsting after righteousness?
Church tower seen through the upper lych gate
Signed from A3078 to St. Mawes at St. Just Lane
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St. Keverne
When I walked from St. Keverne village to Porthoustock and Porthallow in November 2005, I made a point of being back in time to have a good look at this fascinating church.  The first thing to strike you is that it is probably built on an older pagan site, raised as it is on a platform higher than the surrounding village.  Steps lead you up through a massive lych gate, still complete with its coffin rest.  The big perpendicular windows suggest the 15th century but inside tells a different story.  Here is a round headed arch to the north door and a lancet window to its left, both of the 11th or 12th century.  Between the two is a medieval wall painting of St. Christopher, patron saint of travellers. 
Furnishing is a mixed bag.  Many early bench-ends were retained when the church was refurbished in the 1930s;  mostly they represent the Passion but some commemorate local families.  The small but handsome carved pulpit is Jacobean.  Memorials include a brass plate remembering a Titanic victim and another the Primrose, wrecked on the Manacles in 1809.  The east window commemorates the hundred or more who lost their lives on the Manacles in the Mohegan in 1898.  Half are buried in a mass grave outside the north door.  My information is from the excellent guide leaflet.
Reached by B3293, off A3083 Helston to Lizard Town
St. Keverne church - gothic windows, spire,  palms
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St. Levan in West Penwith
Jane and I had seen St. Levan church before in 2004 when we had done a round walk from Porthcurno to Gwennap Head and back.  In July 2008 I had time to spare in West Penwith after checking out a problem on the Land's End Trail.  So I parked in St. Levan to take a closer look at the church, to visit St. Levan's Well and Baptistry on the cliffs above Porth Chapel and to get some photos at Porthgwarra.  What I found proved to be an interesting church with a fascinating churchyard.  The church is largely 15th century but with an older tower.  Inside are an ancient holy water stoup in the porch;  carved roof bosses and a Norman font in the south aisle and rood stairs in the south wall;  the rood screen is not original.  Outside are two ancient cross heads and a handsome tall carved Cornish cross;  and the St. Levan Stone, split in two and said to have been venerated in pre-Christian times.  Most remarkable are the two lych gates.  Both have seats and coffin rests, neither has a roof;  both have coffen stiles, the top one open to prevent animals straying from the field above.  If you leave by the lower lych gate and take the path to Porth Chapel, a popular family beach, you will encounter St. Levan's Well and Baptistry, just above the beach.
The upper lych gate leads to a path to Porthcurno
There is parking (small charge in season) just above the church
Notable modern features within the church are a granite and bronze low-relief, by local artist Judy Reed, of St. Levan blessing three sea bream (he was apparently a keen fisherman) and some modern carved commemorative bench ends, nicely continuing the Cornish tradition.  The ancient bench ends in the church include one of two fish, presumably bream, one with a hook in its mouth, presumably caught by St. Levan.
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The Three Churches of St. Minver Parish
On a hot late August Sunday we did a walk to take a look at the three churches in St. Minver Parish on the Camel estuary.  This is Jane's home territory;  she was raised in Trebetherick and Rock in the parish.  We parked above Daymer Bay, walked across St. Enodoc golf course to St. Enodoc church and the Jesus Well, down through Rock to the Camel estuary for pasties at the Rock Inn, across the beach to St. Michael Porthilly, through pasture land to St. Menefreda's in St. Minver, and by Roserrow golf course back to Daymer Bay.  You could do this by car for the churches, or as an eight mile walk, using OS Explorer sheet 106.  Refreshments in Rock;  Fourways Inn in St. Minver was poor (2013 believed much improved);  the clubhouse at Roserrow (now The Point at Polzeath) serves excellent good value food.

St. Enodoc church
The Jesus Well
St. Michael Porthilly
St. Menefreda's
Stranded within a golf course above Daymer Bay, the tiny church stands on a site holy since the 6th century.  The church, with its stubby twisted spire, had to be dug out from sand-dunes in 1863;  its steep churchyard is now protected by tall tamarisks.  Poet Laureate John Betjeman is buried here.  The lych gate retains its coffin rest. The Well is also stranded in the golf course.  Legend has it that St. Enodoc baptised converts here in the 6th century, when he had a monastic cell on the site of the church.  Why it is called the Jesus Well is another question. I guess this is one of the places that tin-trader Joseph of Arimathea is supposed to have brought the young Jesus.  Location makes this charming little 14th century church, above a sandy beach on the Camel estuary. It once belonged to Bodmin Priory to which the adjacent farmhouses belonged. Notable inside are the wagon roof, Norman font and slate memorial to the Rounseualls.  Outside, near the entrance, is a 6th century Celtic cross. This church is in St. Minver Highlands and is mostly 15th century.  Features include carved oak bench ends, a slate memorial to the Stone family and a board carrying a 'letter' from Charles I. 
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St. Anietus Church at St. Neot

St. Neot is a charming village on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor, well worth visiting for itself and its church.  The origins of St. Anietus - his name was later corrupted to St. Neot - are not known.  He may have been either Cornish or Saxon and some claim his remains may be found at St. Neot's, Huntingdonshire.  Whatever the truth of that, his church, on the edge of Bodmin Moor, should not be missed.  It stands on a small eminence above the London Inn, its two churchyard gates of wrought iron.  By the south porch stand four Cornish Crosses, including the tall shaft of what must have been one of the finest.  Inside, barrel vaulted roofs have carved bosses and all is light and airy.  It would be a fine church without its glass;  with the glass it is unmissable.  Dating from around 1530, much is original, that which was restored in 1830 was well done.  Scenes from the bible include the Creation, the Flood and the Last Supper.  Noah's Ark, rather appropriately for maritime Cornwall, appears as a three-masted sailing ship!  There is also a window of heraldic shields and others to the glory of the local gentry.  This is surely the finest medieval glass to be found in Cornwall and, save for Fairford in Gloucestershire, may well be the finest in any parish church in Britain.
St. Anietus Church
St. Neot is just ten minutes from Golitha Falls
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Temple Church on Bodmin Moor

In late March 2006 I had just finished a tiring Copper Trail walk on Bodmin Moor.  Heading home on the A30 highway, an impulse made me detour briefly to drive through Temple village.  Once it was on an ancient route across Bodmin Moor but it has long been a backwater.  I revisted in early April, after another walk, this time on East Moor.  In the 12th century it was a place of some significance, boasting a small settlement and church built by the crusading Knights Templar (what on earth were they doing in Cornwall!).  The Templars held the right to conduct marriages without licence or banns.  As a result dubious marriages were made and the church acquired such a reputation that locals would say of a woman of ill repute "send her to Temple Moors", the ultimate ostracism.  After Parliament passed the Marriage Act in 1753, the church saw little use and became ruinous.  Sadly, rather than restoration, the Victorians pulled it down and built a new church.  I say sadly because it would be wonderful to have a round Templar church in Cornwall.  The saving grace is that stone from the old church was re-used and stones bearing degraded figures and crosses have been incorporated into wall of the outbuilding to the south side of the church. 
Sgned from A30, 4 miles west of Bolventor
Temple church in a sheltered hollow below the village
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St. Materiana Tintagel
The two best things about Tintagel are the climb to the top of the 'Island' in search of King Arthur and the parish church of St. Materiana, both well away from the tawdry bustle of the tourist-trap village.  Its siting is odd, stranded on a clifftop to the west of the town;  a whole early settlement must have gone missing here.  Inside, a simple Norman granite font stands on a most unusual plinth of small upright slates set in a checker pattern, almost as if architect Sir Edwin Lutyens had designed it as part of one of his unusual garden paths.  Wood work in the church is unusual;  the reredos appears to be made of old bench ends which carry carvings of the Passion and of local coats of arms.  From the clifftop beyond the church you get a view of The Island on which Tintagel Castle stands.  As you walk or drive along Church Hill on the way to St. Materiana's church, you pass Tintagel Vicarage, the tiny Fontevrault Chapel, converted from a barn, in its gatehouse, a dovecot in its garden.  If you do drive, there are parking spaces close to the church.  You can approach Tintagel Castle along the cliff from the church.
Since writing this review we have changed our minds somewhat about Tintagel village, so do read my current review
St. Materiana's church in the late evening sun
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St. Winwaloe's Church, Towednack near St. Ives
I really only went to see the little church at Towednack because it was used as the location for the wedding of Francis and Elizabeth in the BBC Poldark series.  I discovered that it is well worth seeing in its own right.  Hidden up a narrow lane, off a narrow country road, roughly between Trendrine Hill and Rosewall Hill, it is a delight with one unique feature for Cornwall:  its stumpy two-stage tower carries no pinnacles.  The present church seems to date from 12th to 16th centuries but the site, a raised one, is almost certainly far earlier than that and might even be a pre-Christian one.  The Winwaloe connection is an interesting one.  Apparently he was a 6th century Breton hermit, and is also known by two diminutives, Winnow and Wednack, so there may well be connections with St. Winnow near Fowey and Gunwalloe Church Cove, Landewednack Church Cove on the Lizard and Poundstock Church.  Inside is simple and charming, wagon-roofed, the aisle divided from the nave by a fine arcade.  The chancel arch, of around 1400 is said to be unique in Cornwall.  Two unusual features are a rough granite altar, bearing five carved crosses, and the font, the bowl of which is dated 1720, the base being an upturned Norman font.  Outside the porch are remains of two Cornish crosses;  in the graveyard is a primitive table tomb.  I was delighted to see this lovely little church and can understand why it was used for Poldark.
 Towednack's charming little church
The Tinners Way passes through Towednack
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St. Enodoc Church, Trebetherick
Technically a Chapel of Ease, the history of the little church of St. Enodoc is shrouded somewhat in mystery.  Cornwall Calling says it was built around 1430 but Simon Jenkins in his authoritative England's Thousand Best Churches refers to its Norman interior.  Its history, however, goes back much further than that.  It is probably on the site of the cell of St. Gwinnodock who, during the 6th century, is said to have baptised converts in the Jesus Well on the other side of St. Enodoc golf course which surrounds the church.  Architecturally it is an odd church.  The south door leads into an aisle.  Beyond is the nave with a north transept to which the tower, with its strange, slightly twisted broach spire, is attached.  The late poet laureate, Sir John Betjeman, who had a second home nearby and who loved the church, is buried in its churchyard, as is his mother. 
Standing on sand dunes, the church was almost lost at one time.  In the 19th century encroaching sand buried it up to roof level and the only way the vicar could get in was through a skylight in the roof.  To maintain his living he would hold one service a year.  Happily in 1863 the then vicar, Rev. Hart Smith, organised its excavation and restoration.  Even more happily, that restoration maintained its character.  It is safe now, protected by a Cornish hedge planted with tamarisk.
St. Enodoc, the church in the sand
Accessible only on foot across the golf course. 
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St. Wendrona's in Wendron
Almost nothing is known of Wendron's patron Saint Wendrona.  Her church, typically Cornish of local granite, is mostly of the 14th and 15th centuries and stands on what may be a pagan mound.  Both tower and south porch are adorned with handsome pinnacles.   Inside there are some unexpected carvings - crude angels on the capitals of the north transept and the double headed eagle of Richard, Earl of Cornwall and 'King of the Romans', by the pulpit.  Unexpectedly the rood stairs are still in place.  The lych gate by the road is unusual and fascinating;  it is of two storeys, the upper entered either from the churchyard or by steps from the road.  Its coffin rest is still in place. 

St. Wendrona's Church
The Lych Gate
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St.Senara, Zennor
When I parked in Zennor for a walk to find Zennor and Mulfra Quoits in September 2006, I first investigated the church which is full of interest.  From outside you see a pinnacled tower, nave, aisle and chapel, all medieval.  By the entrance gate is an old cross head;  two more adorn the grave of Admiral Borlase near the lych gate, where an old statue tops a modern pillar.  By the south wall is an inscribed stone, above it a memorial to John Davey, apparently the last Cornish speaker, though it seems only as an academic exercise.  Inside are typical Cornish wagon roofs, two fonts - one Norman - a statue of an unknown saint and the famous 'Mermaid seat'.  Victorian restoration means that walls and pews are plain.  Two legends.  Senara, married to a Breton king, was accused of infidelity, put in a barrel, thrown into the sea, fed by angels, gave birth to a son, Budoc, and washed up in Ireland.  On her way home she founded this church.  The 'Mermaid seat' has a bench end on which is carved a mermaid holding a comb and mirror.  Legend has it that the mermaid entranced Matthew Trewhella and lured him to Pendour Cove where he drowned.  It is said that on quiet nights the two can be heard singing beneath the waves.
St. Senara's church, Zennor
Just of B3306 St. Ives to St. Just-in-Penwith
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Other Sites

Quaker Meeting House at Come-to-Good

Cornwall has always been fertile ground for what the Church of England likes to call nonconformism.  Some of John Wesley's greatest successes were in Cornwall where mining communities turned out in their thousands to hear him preach (see Gwennap Pit).  A hundred years before Wesley an even simpler creed had taken hold in Cornwall, led by the important Falmouth ship-owning Fox family, appropriately since the founder of the Quakers was George Fox, though he was from Leicestershire.  There are several Quaker Meeting Houses in Cornwall.  One of the most charming is to be found just off the road to Trelissick Garden.  Technically called Feock Meeting House - Feock is a pleasing small waterside village a mile or two further on - it actually stands in the almost non-existent settlement of Come-to-Good (a nice biblical ring to that).  It was derelict when Jane first knew it, but has now been re-thatched and restored and is again a place of worship.  The exterior is as charming as the best of meeting houses and features thatch, whitewash and leaded windows.  The interior is simplicity itself and, even when empty, has a touching tranquillity.  You can see other places associated with the Foxes - why not visit their gardens at Glendurgan and Trebah, both within half an hour of here.
Come-to-Good Meeting House
Only photographable in winter;  summer view obscured by trees
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Gwennap Pit

John Wesley first came to Cornwall in 1743 and one of the first areas he visited was the copper belt to the south of Camborne and Redruth.  One of the first places he preached was the busy complex of mines at Gwennap, an area he returned to time and again over the years.  When Wesley came to the area in September the weather was particularly stormy and, for protection from the wind and so the crowd could hear him, he preached in a natural amphitheatre created by a mine-shaft collapse.  He returned there 17 times, preaching to crowds claimed to be as large as 30,000.  In 1806 local mine captains rebuilt the pit with its present 13 concentric rings of turfed seating.  In 1836 Busveal chapel was built close by.  In the 1980s sculptor Guy Sanders created the series of commemorative panels.  A small visitor centre is open from Whitsun to September.  A service is held every Whit Monday.  Gwennap Pit is not an easy place to find but the effort is worth it for the special atmosphere.  From A30 at Scorrier east of Redruth take B3298 south, turn right into St. Day centre, then west.  Not far from Gwennap Pit is Carharrack Museum of Cornish Methodism in Carharrack's Methodist Church.  It has a small collection of Wesleyana and artefacts of Cornish Methodist history and is open by appointment only with Mr Barrie S May -  01209 820381. 
 Gwennap Pit
At Busveal near St. Day.   See also Wesley's Cottage
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The Two Holy Wells of Holywell
When a village is named Holywell you would certainly expect to find one holy well but Holywell has two.  One is in a cave at the northern end of the superb beach and is accessible only at lowish tide.  The cave is just before the mussel covered rocks.  Don't go straight in but climb the rocks on the left-hand side;  beware, they are very slippery.  You then come to the calcified rock steps, water running down and leaving small cool pools.  The spring is at the top of the steps.  If unsure of the location, ask Mike in the NT car park.  The other is by the bottom pond on the golf course and is easily accessed by a path though Trevornick Holiday Park.  This one was only rediscovered in 1916 and restored in 1936.  The ground within the gothic enclosure is very wet.  Experts argue about which site was the holy well that attracted medieval pilgrims.  My guess is the golf course one as the coastline will have receded and the spring in the cave might only have become visible relatively late on. 
Holywell Bay, the calcified steps of the spring in the cave
Holywell, the restored holy well on the golf course
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Menacuddle Holy Well
As so often with Cornish names, you can take your choice of what this one means.  A. L. Rowse, who was born just a couple of miles away, was sure Menacuddle means Rock Well, Craig Wetherhill opts for Hillside Thicket, and Cheryl Straffon goes for St. Guidel's Well.  It would be nice to think it was the latter so that it could truly be a holy well.  Whatever it means, it seems to be a fact that the well house was built in the 14th or 15th century, was incorporated in a pleasure ground by Charles Rashleigh in 1820 and was restored by Admiral Sir Charles Sawle in 1921 and given to St. Austell as a memorial to his only son, lost in action at Ypres in 1914.  It is thought that a chapel (sometimes referred to as a baptistry) stood next to the well house, in which a spring still rises.  I made a walk of it, parking at Wheal Martyn and walking a clay trail to the edge of St. Austell.  If you are coming by car, you leave St. Austell on B3274 towards Bodmin, pass under the railway viaduct and take the first little turning on the left;  beware, it's difficult to get out again.  It is a peaceful spot, the well house reached by a small footbridge over the White River (or St. Austell River) which rises in the clay fields and has a lovely soft blue-green colour.  A 'Druid's Seat' on the opposite bank was presumably made for Sir Charles Rashleigh.
The Well House across the blue-green White River
On B3274 to Bugle, just north of St.Austell
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Sancreeed - Cornish Crosses and a Holy Well and Chapel
In July 2006 I had called in at Sancreed, on my way to walk on Carnyorth Common, in search of a stone circle and some boundary stones, planning just to see a couple of much admired Cornish crosses that I had read about.  In the event I stayed much longer than expected as I learned there was a nearby holy well and chapel remains and then I discovered there were bronze age remains on Sancreed Beacon.  The church is attractive and clearly mainly of the 14th or 15th centuries. I wasn't able to get in but, if the interior has anything as good as the carved bosses on the porch roof timbers, it should be worth seeing - I hope to return on another occasion to see the inside. 
The Cornish crosses are amongst the very best, with surprisingly clear detail for their thousand year age.  There are also cross heads embedded in the churchyard walls.  Just up the road, through what looks like a garden gate on the left, is a holy well, steps leading down to it, a 'prayer' tree to its left, relics of those for whom prayers are offered hanging from it, and ruins of a chapel to its right.  All that spoils the peace is a rather ugly modern pastiche of a Cornish cross.  If you continue up the hill, on your right you find Sancreed Beacon with bronze age remains and impressive views.
From Penzance, turn right at the end of Drift village
Saint Credan's Church
October 2014: The church has been placed on English Heritage's 'Buildings at Risk' register, needing urgent repairs to the roof and fabric.  The major cross in the churchyard, in danger of toppling, has also been added to the register. 
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Wesley's Cottage in Trewint

One of the most hallowed Methodist sites in Cornwall, Wesley stayed here on several occasions.  But there is much more to the story than that.  The cottage was owned by stonemason Digory Isbell.  In his absence, his wife Elizabeth gave food and drink to two strangers who, after eating, knelt and prayed 'without benefit of a book'.  They were two of Wesley's advance agents.  Digory was impressed by the story of the strangers and when Wesley returned to Cornwall a year or so later, he was made welcome and blessed the cottage and its owners.  Later Digory, having read a passage in his bible about the Shunamite woman who built a 'Prophet's Chamber' for a man of God, built an extension to his own house - a chapel with a bedroom over - for Wesley and his preachers. 
Trewint became a flourishing centre of Methodism but, as other chapels were built in Cornwall, the rooms in Trewint fell into disuse and became derelict.  Happily, in 1950 they were restored and opened to the public.  Wesley Day celebrations are held in May each year in what is believed to be the world's smallest Methodist preaching place.  Digory and Elizabeth Isbell are both buried in the churchyard at nearby Altarnun.  Local legend has it that if you run round the iron railings surrounding their tombstone twelve times, then put your fingers in your ears, you will hear the bells of heaven.
Museum entrance is the black middle door
Off A30, 6 miles west of Launceston.  See also Gwennap Pit
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Cornish Saints
St. Constantine's Church and Well

I found St. Constantine's Well in 2004, on Trevose Golf Course, but had to wait till 2007 to find his church.  Research came up with conflicting stories, placing the saint variously in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall, though all agreed on the 6th century.  I prefer the 'Britannia Early British Kingdoms' version, supported by references in the annals of the scholar monk Gildas.  Constantine, cousin of King Arthur, survived the battle of Camlaan and succeeded his father Cado as King of Dumnonia (Devon and Cornwall).  Out hunting, his quarry took refuge in St. Petroc's monastery at Padstow.  Impressed by the power of sanctuary Constantine became Christian.  He helped found Petroc's monastery at Bodmin, founded others at Cornwall's two Constantines then joined St. David in Wales.  He was killed by Irish pirates in Kintyre (Scotland) in AD 576 (or 598).  His Cornwall feast day is 9th March.  The well remains are nicely housed under a roof but the church is a sad affair.  The well site is obvious.  The church is to the north of it and a path is signed up a dune.  What little remains of the church can only be seen by climbing the thorn and bramble covered dune.  This must be a candidate for the care of Cornwall Heritage Trust, which does so good a job.  For now, it would be nice if the golf club could maintain the site a little.
Follow the path across the golf course towards Trevose Head
St. Constantine's Well beneath its modern protective roof
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St. Petroc - Father of the Cornish Church
Visiting the garden of Prideaux Place in Padstow in July 2008, we were surprised to find, close by the deer park, a newly excavated well.  We were surprised, too, that we had missed the report of it in the Western Morning News in July 2007.  A plaque by it gives a brief description.  The well was unearthed by local amateur archaeologist Jonathan Clemes while searching for a secret tunnel.   The hope is that it may have been St. Petroc's original holy well.  Petroc, considered by many to be the Father of the Cornish Church, is said by some to have been native Cornish, by others to have been of a Welsh royal family.  Around 600 AD, after an expedition to Ireland, he landed, with sixty followers, at Trebetherick on the east bank of the River Camel.  In what is now Padstow (St. Petroc's holy place) he settled at the abbey of Lanwethinock, before moving to Bodmin to take over St. Guron's cell there and expand it to priory status, a status it maintained until the late middle ages.  Petroc's monastic lands extended as far as Portreath and Tintagel, later forming much of the hundred of Pydar.  Petroc died at Padstow.  His relics are kept in a casket, made in 1170 at Henry II's behest, in St. Petroc's church in Bodmin.  For the chequered history of the casket look at my entry for  St.Petroc's church.
Is this St. Petroc's Holy Well?
You will have to pay the inexpensive garden entry fee to see the well
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St. Piran - Patron Saint of Cornish Tin Miners

St. Piran is patron saint of Cornish tin miners.  It is thought that he was born in Ireland in around AD480, schooled in South Wales and returned to Ireland to found Clonmacnoise monastery, where he was known as Ciaran.  He was then captured by heathen Irish who tied him to a millstone and threw him over cliffs during a storm. The storm abated and Piran floated across the sea to Cornwall where he built a hermitage on the vast Penhale sand dunes.  He died at his hermitage.  St. Piran's Oratory, claimed to be his original chapel although it may date from the 7th or 8th century, was excavated in the 1830s but lost again under the sand.  At one time it was hidden under concrete but was later re-excavated.  Now a stone and plaque mark its position, about equidistant from a modern cross and the remains of a later St. Piran's church.  The oratory was in use until around 1150 when overwhelmed by dunes.  The new church was built further inland but abandoned in 1804.  An old granite Cornish cross stands by its ruins, subject of an archaeological dig in September 2005.  The present church is at Perranzabuloe.  A mile away is Piran Round.  Only the name has a connection;  this is actually the remains of an iron-age farmstead.  St. Piran's flag is said to represent white tin flowing from black stone in Piran's hearth.
UPDATE 2014:  The oratory has been re-excavated in 2014 - see below
Stone and tablet marked the Oratory location 
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St. Piran's Church - The September 2005 Archaeological Dig

When St.Piran's original oratory, built on the ever-shifting Penhale Sands not far from Perranporth, was overwhelmed by the dunes, the villagers decided to build a new church further inland.  There is some doubt about its date but it is believed that it was probably built in the late 10th or early 11th century.  Commemorating one of Cornwall's three most important saints - the others are Michael and Petroc - it became a place of pilgrimage.
The early medieval church was itself threatened by the encroaching sand.  It was finally abandoned in 1804.  Roof, doors and windows were removed to be used in the contruction of a new chuch in Perranzabuloe village.  It was then left to the mercy of the elements and the sands eventually swallowed it.  A dig was carried out in 1922, uncovering the chancel but this was then left to deteriorate again. 
In September 2005 the admirable St. Piran Trust organised a serious dig as part of their ongoing Piran Project scheme to conserve the remaining sites associated with St. Piran.  Under the aegis of Dick Cole of Cornwall's Historic Environment Service, the nave and base of the tower were uncovered before time and money ran out.  It is hoped the project can continue in 2006/7, that explanatory boards will be erected (2007 - one has) and that the Oratory will be uncovered again (see below). 
Looking east from the base of the tower
Approached by a line of stone markers, NNW from the road
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St. Piran's Oratory -The 2014 Archaeological Dig
This is one of Cornwall's most important historic Christian sites and although the Oratory remains are not thought to be of St. Piran's original building they are probably of its 7th or 8th century replacement and therefore one of the oldest holy buildings in Britain.  While the location is well known there is some dispute about the name of the dunes here, part of a system stretching much of the way from Holywell Bay to Perranporth.  The OS104 map calls it Penhale Sands;  Cornwall Council and the St.Piran Trust call it Gear Sands;  I prefer Perran Sands.  The building was discovered in the 19th century, when shifting sand partly exposed it, and was excavated in 1834 amd 1843.  After re-excavation in 1910 a shell of concrete block was constructed around the building to conserve it.  In 1980 it was re-buried under sand and a stone marker and story board erected.  At last, in 2014, the Oratory is being excavated again, with plans to consolidate it and leaving it on public view, like nearby St. Piran's Church.  The main bodies involved in the excavation are Cornwall's Archaeological Unit and the St. Piran Trust, a very local charitable trust led by the formidable Eileen Carter who has campaigned tirelessly, first for St. Piran's Church, now for the Oratory.  Each year there is a procession to the site on St. Piran's Day 5th March.  
The Oratory excavated down to floor level
Photo taken November 2014.  Note the altar
The Oratory storyboard is at SW 76874/56402 
A 9 mile Round Walk includes the St. Piran's Oratory and Church
Update November 2014:  At the beginning of November 2014 I took a walk across Penhale Sands to see what progress had been made at the Oratory in the past 8 months.  At the time I was disappointed to discover that the site was still surrounded with security fencing and the remains were hidden by black plastic, held down by sandbags.  However, I got in touch with Cornwall Council archaeologist James Gossip who tells me that work should recommence very soon and that completion is hoped for Spring 2015.  The high winter water table poses considerable problems as I noticed in March 2014 when a small lake closely abutted the site.  However, by Spring 2015 it is hoped that partial remains of all four walls will be exposed and there will be access to the site and a new storyboard.  I look forward greatly to the project's completion.
Update Late November 2014:  I was back at the Oratory on Thursday 20 November.  To my delight work had continued apace since earlier in the month.  Excavation had got right down to floor level, walls were standing up to 10 feet in height and the altar had been reconstructed.  You will notice in the photograph that there is material against the west wall;  I wonder whether this may even be original buttressing as Celtic buildings of the period tended to need support.  Open days were held on Saturday and Sunday 22nd and 23rd November with a service on the Sunday.  More information on the dig and its results should be published on the Piran Trust website in due course.
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St. Euny's Well
All the references I have found on the web describe this site as having two wells but I would have thought it was a spring on one side of the path, the holy well on the other side.  There are also some remains of a chapel scattered about and the inevitable votive offerings on a nearby tree.  I assume the saint in question was the St. Uny of Lelant, rather than the St. Euny of far away Redruth (or are they the same?). It must be possible that this was the original water source for nearby Carn Euny iron age courtyard village.  Most interesting way to reach the site is on the footpath that leads from Chapel Carn Brea to Carn Euny, a nice spread of periods in a couple of miles.
Take the path from the foot of Chapel Carn Brea towards Carn Euny
Steps down to St. Euny's well
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St. Levan's Well and Baptistry in West Penwith
St. Levan is believed to have been of an Irish royal house which spread first into Wales and subsequently into Cornwall where Padern carved himself a Dukedom in the 4th century.  Levan - originally Selevan - was of the house of Padern and was born in the 6th century, maybe at Boslevan near St. Buryan.  Moving to Bodellan by Porthcurno, he founded a cell on the cliffs above Porth Chapel and later a church where the present St. Levan church stands.  He is reputed to have been a keen fisherman, this commemorated by a sculpture in the church.  After visiting St. Levan church in July 2008, I left the churchyard by the lower lych gate and walked down to Porth Chapel.  Still standing on the cliff above the beach are the remains of St. Levan's Baptistry and his Holy Well.  The water from the well is apparently still used for baptisms in St. Levan church.  Originally there is said to have been a small chapel further down the cliff and in 1931 Reverend Valentine and Dr. Favell unearthed fify or so stone steps leading down to where it stood.  The steps are now in use by beachgoers.  This is a delightful spot, easily approached from the village.  If you approach by the coast path you will find it  harder going but well worth it for the superb coastal views.
St. Levan's Baptistry and Well above Porth Chapel
Walk down from St. Levan church where there is a car park
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St. Clederus Chapel and Holy Well at St. Clether
By happy coincidence I chose Saturday 5th May 2007 to take a walk from St. Clether to seek out the chapel and holy well of St. Clederus and a couple of  Cornish crosses.  When I parked by the church, from which a path leads to the chapel, I saw a notice announcing that it was St. Clederus day and that celebrations would be held at the chapel.  At the chapel I met Vanda Inman (her website) who had dressed the well and chapel.  I am grateful to her helpful booklet for the following information.  Clederus was one of 24 children of Welsh King Brychan;  others founded churches at St. Endellion, St. Minver and Morwenstow (and many others).  Unusually, Clederus actually settled at what became St. Clether.  Chapel and well were both rebuilt in the 15th and 19th centuries, accounting for their remarkable condition, but the chapel stands on its original footings and the altar is thought to be original.  The well is at the north-east corner but then flows under the altar to rise again in the south wall.  An impressive and highly atmospheric place in the lovely peaceful valley of the River Inny.   Not far away I found two Cornish crosses, both near Basill Manor, a tall one below a stone leat, the other a truncated one on a hedge in a field, close to the road but hidden from it..
St. Clederus' holy well, lightly dressed for the day
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