Stratton was once an important town on a Roman road. Inland from modern Bude, it is an older town and today has a delightful collection of houses clustered around St Andrew’s church with its tall tower.
Above the western door to the tower is the figure of St Andrew with his cross.
In the porch one’s eye is caught by the fine studded prison door, with its rather obvious ‘Clink’ spelled out in additional studs. It was no doubt moved here for safe keeping.
Inside, the church is of the familiar three-aisle format with different styles of arcading for the north and south aisles: tall granite pillars to the C15 south and polyphant to the C14 north. Some of the glass is by Burne-Jones and Morris but there is enough plain glass to make the church light.
The church underwent the usual C19 repair but retains the traditional shape of its wagon roofs with no chancel arch. The rood screen was installed by EH Sedding in 1902/2.
There is a variety of interesting details:
- A plain circular Norman font
- A niche in the chancel looks very much like an Easter Sepulchre but is thought to be too small
- A brass to Sir John Arundell (d1561) , his wife and children which is now attached to a wall, out of harm’s way
- A fine C17 pulpit
- An exhibition of memorabilia from a Civil Way action in 1643, which sits alongside the old village stocks (thus, with the clink door, the church acts as a local micro-museum)
The real gem is hidden away on a windowsill in the north aisle: a stone effigy of Sir Richard de Blanchminster, possibly a crusader knight. This appears somewhat the worse for wear with unexplained holes in the face and body. but is sufficiently rare in Cornwall to make it interesting.
The legend of Sir Richard involves The Reverend Hawker was (sadly) moved to verse:
Sir Ralph de Blanc-Minster of Bien Aime (the modern Binhamy Farm)
Choose ye seven men among the just,
And bid them hold my lands in trust.
On Michael’s morn, and Mary’s day,
To deal the dole and watch and pray.
Then bear me coldly o’er the deep,
Mid my own people I would sleep:
These hearts shall melt, their prayers will breathe,
Where he who loved them rests beneath.
Mould me in stone as here I lie
My face upturned to Syria’s sky:
Carve ye this good sword at my side,
And write the legend ‘True and Tried’.
Let Mass be said, and requiem sung,
And that sweet chime I loved be rung:
Those sounds along the Northern wall
Shall thrill me like a trumpet-call.
Thus said he – and at set of sun
The bold Crusader’s race was run –
Seek ye his ruined hall and bower?
Then stand beneath tall Stratton tower.