St Mylor almost rivals its neighbour-across-the-water St Just in Roseland, for its setting. As at St Just, one approaches the church from above. The major difference is that the boatyard and marina here is significantly larger, destroying the sense of tranquillity. Simon Jenkins awards it one star for location.
The church is small and cosy. It boasts two towers, a very small one attached to the church itself by aisle-width buttresses and another detached C 17 weather-boarded bell tower – similar to those at Gunwalloe and Feock – a few yards away. Is the main tower even smaller than that at Cornelly?
There is much detail to enjoy, enhanced by the use of Caen stone which takes detail better than granite, and various pieces of high quality stone which may have come from the former Glasney College. The church was, however, extensively ‘restored’ in 1869 and it is difficult to disentangle some of the original from the restored.
The closed north door is splendidly Norman with two round-headed windows alongside.
The porch on the south side, is richly decorated with a lovely ogee moulded headstone. Alongside is some graffiti from the C18 which one must deplore in principle but enjoy for the typography and effort that went into it: this was not scratched in a moment.
Inside, the church has lost its original wagon roof but has a harmony, helped by a north-facing skylight. The Caen stone providing some lovely detail in the capitals.
Look out for:
- The unusual piscina
- The holy well
- The C15 priests chair with its carving of the adoration of the Magi
- The remains of the lower half of the rood screen
- The C17 font which looks older
- The various monuments to the Bonython and Trefusis family who lived nearby. The latter lost a coach in the marsh that once existed outside the church
- The stocks – for five legs rather than seven or nine – suggesting that the Mylorians may have been better behaved than people in some other parishes
Beside the porch, stands a large wheel-headed cross in a wooded and well-kept cemetery.
As is typical of a maritime church, some of the memorials are very touching. In addition to the monument to the boys of HMS Ganges who died of disease and ‘falling from the rigging’ as late as the C20, it has a slab to the victims of the Queen, transport, soon after the end of the Peninsular war.
A church very deserving of its rather mean one star.