Towednack church

In one way, Towednack seems completely out of place. It sits alone against a background of open, almost treeless landscape in the land behind St Ives, low and squat, looking as though it should be deep in the heart of the Lizard or within reach of Bodmin moor; especially on a damp day when we visited.

It is a joy, consisting of a nave and south aisle, nestling alongside a simple two-stage tower. Pevsner refers to it as ‘lovable and diminutive’ which is very fair

The interior has that robust, rustic feel so characteristic of unplastered walls with eccentric pointing. As our pictures show, it was elegantly filled with flowers which helped to enhance the sense of caring.

Like other churches, it experienced a C19 restoration, this time by JD Sedding, who replaced the roofs sympathetically. A later architect has created an imaginative paint scheme which relieves the intensity of the dull ribs.

There are few ‘great’ features but there are delights:

  • The font is a pleasing C18 granite
  • There are two comical C17 bench-ends on the north wall featuring James Trevella and Matthew Trenwith which were stolen from the church and recovered from an auction
  • There is an unusual stair to the tower which actually leaves the tower through the north wall
  • And there is a magnificent stone altar table which somehow survived the Reformation to be re-instated. It could so easily be a left over from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Pevsner gets very excited by the ca 1300 double-chamfered chancel arch which is unique so far west. Although we prefer our Cornish churches without an arch, this is so discreet that it does not offend the eye.

Outside, if you can take your eyes off the surrounding countryside, is a small wheel-headed cross and stone shaft.

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A journey through the landscape and history of Cornwall

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