Sheviock church

Sheviock 01

Approaching St Mary’s, the most striking feature is the elegant, simple and slender tower with its broached spire. High up on north wall is a single face.

It consists of a nave, north aisle and south transept which feel a little imbalanced. It got the Tractarian movement in the C19 and was re-modelled with raised chancel by G E Street in 1850.

The Tractarian residue is alive and well for the entrance crossing is littered with leaflets and encouraging pieces of paper. Amongst this paper is an informative and well-written paddle-bat with the history of the church.

The outstanding feature inside is the three C14 effigies of Dawneys/Courtneys: two in the south transept and one formerly in the north transept but now on the wall of the north aisle. Such effigies are rare in the heart of Cornwall where great families did not have an impact on the national story or, until much later, fight for their king.

Sheviock: the effigies of Lady Emmeline and Sir Edward Courtney
Sheviock: the effigies of Lady Emmeline and Sir Edward Courtney

They are treated with the usual disrespect in a church with little storage space, with no indication of who they are or of their history.

There are little gems like the plain C13 font, sedilia, piscina and niche for a statue of the BVM at the base of the east window. The wagon roof remains over the chancel and there are some fairly ordinary surviving C15 bench-ends.

There is also a 1960 window to John Wesley in the tower which must have taken a bit of negotiation.

This is a charming local church which was obviously the family church of the Dawneys and Courtneys before history moved on. The tower sticks in the memory.

A journey through the landscape and history of Cornwall