Advent church

Advent church

The church of St Adwena is one of those Cornish churches which is far from any apparent civilisation, not even having its own churchtown let alone farmstead close by. It stands alone at the end of a lane on the edge of Bodmin Moor a short distance from Camelford.

The tower is slim but surprisingly tall with some robust pinnacles around its top which are visible from the nearby Moorgate longstone.

Like most Cornish churches, it became a mess and required restoration in the C19. This was done very sensitively in 1847-9 and then again in 1973. Although there is only a nave and south aisle, both once had transepts. The southern one was removed during the C19 restoration leaving the transept arch in place.

Advent: the nave

The result is a light and well-proportioned interior with some attractive windows. The ceiled wagon roofs retain some of the original carved bosses, a few bearing jolly faces.

The east end of the south aisle has a window with an unusual four-legged centre motif tastefully managed without intrusive Victorian glass.

Below this are three stone monuments. One is an enormous block of granite carved with the names of William and Agnis Michel. Goodness knows how long it took the mason to hew these letters out of stone. Alongside is a simple slate to one Elizabeth Bennett (d1643) who is not, we may assume, the heroine of Pride and Prejudice.

Advent: the south aisle with arch of the former transept
  • The font is made of a few solid lumps of granite and is probably Norman
  • Hidden away, in the north transept are said to be some lancet windows
  • Look out for the former west door to the tower which is now half underground
  • There is an unusual door to the door staircase which abuts the north wall

Although the church is not blessed with a variety of delights, it is a harmonious whole and we much enjoyed it. Well worth a detour. What its future will be, so remote from civilisation, is anyone’s guess.




A journey through the landscape and history of Cornwall