Morvah church

Morvah 01Morvah church should not stir us at all, but it does. It is also, strictly, outside our criteria for inclusion since the bulk of the church is C19.

For a start, no one seems certain on the dedication. Is it St Bridget of Sweden (the church and Henderson) or St Morwetha (Pevsner)? Quite how a Swedish saint came to be remembered in this far outpost of the UK, is anyone’s guess but clearly the Swedes agree for there are various gifts in the church of obvious Swedish origin.

Morvah 03The church serves the community in a tiny village where there is evident competition from a large Methodist chapel and has clearly had a bit of a rough time.

When they came to repair the church in 1828, the whole thing collapsed and so they re-built the single nave from scratch. This lasted until 1902 when further work was required. And then, finally, the roof was replaced in 2011. It is a tale of real determination. Goodness knows how they found the funds to do the work.

Morvah 04There is little remarkable within. Its simplicity is its own story. Where else have we seen a harmonium in prime position (although there is an electrical one to one side of the altar), a simple lectern in need of repair and a kitchen chair? We say this not as criticism but in awe of what the community has achieved and their evident commitment to keep the church going.

A rather touching little notice tells the history of the church and of its repairs. Wood from the roof has been recycled as small wooden crosses which are available for sale.

Morvah 02As the leaflet says, these have ‘witnessed over the years all the sermons, hymns, christenings, weddings, funerals and lives and times of the parishioners of Morvah’. If that does not echo our reason for liking churches (perhaps excluding the sermons) as places to show the continuity of community, then I don’t know what does.

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A journey through the landscape and history of Cornwall