Simon Jenkins’ selection

In his book England’s Thousand Best Churches, Simon Jenkins selects 30 from Cornwall. These are:

Four star

  • Launceston – St Mary Magdalene – for its carved granite facades and C20 woodwork
  • St Neot – for its medieval glass

Three star

  • Altarnun – St Nonna – for its monster heads on the font and the 79 carved bench-ends
  • Blisland – St Probus and St Hyacinth – for Eden’s recreation of a pre-Reformation interior
  • Launcells – St Swithin – for its bench-ends including ‘Ascension’ footprints
  • St Germans – St Germanus – for its Norman exterior, Rysbrack monument and Burne-Jones window
  • Tintagel – St Materiana – for its wild hilltop setting

Two star

  • Bodmin – St Petroc – for St Petroc’s casket
  • Gunwalloe – St Winwaloe – a hermitage marooned on a beach
  • Lanteglos-by-Fowey – St Wyllow – for its hilltop setting and Sedding restoration
  • Morwenstow – St John the Baptist – for its Norman font and as the smugglers’ church of a poet-vicar
  • Probus – St Probus – for its ‘Somerset’ tower
  • St Buryan – St Buriana – for its original painted screen
  • St Endellion – St Endelienta – for its carved Gothic altar and ‘Betjeman’ bells
  • St Ives – St Ia – for its medieval choir stalls and Hepworth statue

One star

  • Breage – St Breaca – for its Christ of the Trades wall painting
  • Come-to-Good – Quaker Meeting House – for its unaltered C18 interior
  • Golant – St Samson – for its hillside setting
  • Kilkhampton – St James – for its Grenville memorials by a pupil of Gibbons and its 157 bench-ends
  • Madron – St Maddern – for its atmospheric interior and Nelson banner
  • Mullion – St Mellanus – for its Arts and Crafts screen
  • Mylor – St Mylor – for its waterside setting and Celtic cross
  • St Anthony in Roseland – St Anthony – an example of early Gothic restoration by the sea
  • St Austell – Holy Trinity – for its tower carvings
  • St Clether – St Clederus – for its holy well in an isolated setting
  • St Enodoc – for its dune setting and Betjeman’s grave
  • St Just in Roseland – for its waterside setting in an exotic garden
  • St Levan – for its cliff-side setting and screen carvings
  • St Winnow – for its waterside setting
  • Zennor – St Senara – for its mermaid legend and the tomb of the last Cornish speaker

The observant will spot that the Quaker Meeting House does not, strictly, meet our criteria for inclusion here but as it is so lovely we have added something about it.

A journey through the landscape and history of Cornwall