The church of St Mary and St Julian would fit in well in Devon for it is almost as red as Exeter cathedral. It stands high on the Rame peninsular, close to St Julian’s well its C15 tower looking very traditional and un-Cornish.
There is some question about the dedication: whether it is in fact a mis-transcription of St Macra and St Sulian but the name of the well and the association with the BVM suits it well.
We arrived at the church a quarter of an hour before a wedding and so our visit was brief. The church was lit and filling fast, nervous-looking ushers attempting to seat people and only a slight panic that the organist had not yet turned up. A churchwarden was maintaining an admirable coolness.
Inside, the church has a nave and two side aisles with an extra short C19 chapel to the south: the Edgcumbe chapel.
It underwent a major restoration in 1874 which retained the essential shape of the wagon roof and, with the light and open arcading the whole is light and spacious. There is no sign of a rood stair.
Two memorials stand out: a slate one to an early Edgcumbe and a rather restrained marble one to a later Richard Edgcumbe.
The most striking feature is the most superb Bodmin-style Norman font which was transported here from St Merryn. The original, very dull, washing-up bowl style font is propped in the corner close by.
We left, as we had arrived, feeling distinctly under-dressed, our thoughts entirely with the bride and groom who had probably planned the celebration down to the last detail and could not possibly have anticipated that they might have no Trumpet Voluntary, no Widor Toccata and hymns sung a capella. ‘Is there an organist in the audience?’ is hardly likely to get a positive response.
Don’t miss the holy well which is just by the road to Cremyll ferry. The view through the trees over the estuary is unmissable.