Mevagissey, St Peter’s

Mevagissey-Church-Tower

St Peter’s church with its characteristic saddleback tower roof and surrounded by its ancient graveyard is on the northern edge of the town away from the harbour.

The church’s original patron saints, Meva and Issey were first mentioned in the 10th Cent and were thought to be female.  Their shared feast day was on or near 11 November.  When the feast day was moved to 29 June (St Peter’s and St Paul’s day) the church started to be called St Peter’s as it is today.

Although John Lamledyr described himself as vicar of ‘Meffagesy’ in c.1400 AD, the original church on this site was known as the church of Lammorech, from the Cornish, a church site [Lann] of the sea [morek].

The church was dedicated or re-dedicated in person by Bishop Bronescombe of Exeter in 1259 (Cornwall then being in Exeter diocese), but there is an earlier Norman font.

The present church buildings went through a cruciform phase probably in  the 14th century.   Surviving motifs include the ‘Z’ marks of the masons and half-pyramid motifs to be seen in the main doorways.  A north aisle replaced one transept in the early to mid-16th century.

Mevagissey-FontThe church bells were sold to re-roof the area damaged when the upper part of the tower fell around the mid 17th Cent.  The present single bell dates from 1684.  The tower was not rebuilt above the church roof level until restoration was undertaken in the Victorian period; hence the un-Cornish saddleback.  The church was reopened in 1887.

Two pinnacles from the original tower have been placed on top of gateposts at the upper entrance to the church.

Other notable artefacts include the 14th century window in the transept; a slate memorial to Lewes Dart of Pentewan (d.1632) and a monument to Otwell Hill (d. 1617).

The organ was installed in 1890 and relocated owing to damp in 1953.

The church today serves the congregation of Mevagissey as part of the Church of England United Benefice of St Mewan with St Marks’ Sticker, Mevagissey and St Ewe.

With acknowledgement to Revd A Mapplebeck MA

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