Illogan, St Illogan

Grid Ref (tba)
Illogan, Nr Redruth, TR16 4SW

St_IlloganchurchThe name Illogan is a Celtic personal name found in Cornwall, Brittany and Montgomeryshire. When William of Worcester visited the Dominican Friary of Truro in 1478 he was told that the body of St. Illogan was enshrined in Illogan Church.

St Illogan may once have had his own Feast Day, only to lose it after the Reformation. The Feast Day of St Illogan is now held on St Luke’s Day, possibly because of the similar sounding name.

The earliest reliable reference to a church in Illogan, dated 1235, refers to the Ecclesia of Eglossalau. All that remains today of the church on that site is the tower, some monuments and a few stones. The building lay roughly in a North East – South West alignment and almost filled the original tiny churchyard which lay around it in a rough oval.

The church was extensively restored in about 1500 with whitewashed walls, oak pews and an oak Communion Table, over which were laid slate tablets of the Ten Commandments – now to be seen on the wall of the Parish Church either side of the present communion table.

St_Illogan_Church_TowerBy 1844 the old church building had become too small for an increasing mining population and the new church of St Illogan came into use on 4th November 1846.

The Bell Tower is all that remains of the old church building, now separate from the main Church. The bell ringing mechanism has recently been replaced by an automatic system that produces very similar chimes to conventionally rung bells.

Inside the Church are a number of interesting monuments, many covering 400 years of the Basset family, plus memorials to the families of Collins and of Nance, as well as the Royal Arms of the House of Hanover assumed by George I when he became king in 1714.

The Parish Church Burial Register, dating back to 1539, is an important historical resource, especially with regard to mining history in the area and relating to Lord de Dunstanville. The locally famous composer Thomas Merritt, noted for his Christmas carols, is buried here and there is a significant military graveyard, mainly of personnel who served at RAF Portreath during World War II, including Canadians, Australians, New Zealand and Polish airmen. The Churchyard is over 5 acres and is currently part of the ‘Living Churchyard Scheme’, managed to provide an important local source of biodiversity.

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