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Cornwall’s churches and ecclesiastical sites

Cornwall is scattered with many churches and places of worship, from the fine Truro Cathedral to the unique Grennap Pit. Most churches in Cornwall are Grade I listed and are an integral part of the history and landscape of this historic county. Discover more about Cornish history by booking a holiday in an idyllic cottage in Cornwall.
Cornwall has a wide diversity of places of worship dating back beyond the 10th century. One of the oldest and most interesting buildings with a church connection is the Weary Friar Inn at Pillaton, Southeast Cornwall.

This pub is next to the 12th century church of St Odulph and was built to house the masons and builders as they worked on the church. It later became an inn for travellers. It is now a comfortable pub, known for its quality food and homely atmosphere, a short drive from Saltash. If you care to visit the church, it has a wagon roof with arch-braced trusses, a square west tower and a fine monument to James Tillie.

Truro Cathedral is a relatively modern cathedral, completed in 1910. Built in Gothic Revival style, it has three spires. St Mary’s Church, which it was built to replace, is now the cathedral’s Lady Chapel.

One of the oldest churches in Cornwall is St Enodoc’s Church. After an eventful history it now sits on St Enodoc Golf Course near the Camel Estuary. It was built in the 12th century where St Enodoc once lived as a hermit. However, by the 18th century the sand dunes had almost entirely buried the church. To maintain it as a place of worship a service had to be held once a year and at times the vicar and congregation descended into the church from a hole in the roof!

In 1864 the church was dug out and restored. It has many interesting relics including a holy well, the memorial to the crew of the tallship Maria Asumpta wrecked nearby in 1995, and the grave of poet laureate Sir John Betjeman.

Another church on the sands is St Winwalloe in Church Cove, Gunwalloe. It is one of the oldest churches in the Duchy and has an unusual church tower which stands separate from the main church building.

The ornate carved exterior of St Mary Magdalene Church in Launceston makes it one of the finest churches in England.

The wealthy Boscawen family built the lovely 13th century St Michael’s Church in Penkivel. It stands at the gates of the family-owned Tregothnan Estate which has the largest mansion in Cornwall.

St Germans Church became Cornwall’s cathedral in AD926. It has a huge Norman doorway flanked by two towers and was dedicated to St Germanus. It is near the Port Eliot Estate in a beautiful spot on the Lynher Estuary.

Gwennap Pit is a natural grassy amphitheatre which was first used for a religious service when several thousand people gathered in 1762 to hear John Wesley, founder of Methodism, preach. It is still used for religious gatherings and seats were cut in the terraces around 1803.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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