Probus, St Probus and St Grace

Grid Ref. SW899477
Church Tce, Tregony Road, Probus, Truro, TR2 4JW

probussmallThe present church is built on the circular site of a pre-Norman conquest monastic site.   Prebends (non resident additional priests) were paid salaries until 1549, a sign of its early importance. The building of the tower and north aisle was started in 1520. It was built entirely with local labour, the parishioners lending their carts and services.

The ‘Somerset’ type tower was sponsored by the Tregian family of Golden amongst others, and is built of Cornish granite from St Stephen-in-Brannel.  Rising some 120 feet 10 inches, it is the highest church tower in the county.

probuscarvingThere are several interesting carvings, including a fox being chased by a hound. The Church Interior, which was heavily restored by G E Street and  J P St Aubyn in 1851, gives an impression of great height. A noteworthy double vaulted arch supports the east wall of the tower.

Original richly carved pew ends used to form the panels in the base of the chancel screen, have written across them Jesus hear us thy people and send us grace and good for ever, a translation from the Latin. Gratia et Probus, Grace and Goodness.  This may account for the dedication to SS Probus and Grace; the original dedication first noted in the 10th century being to Probus alone. The chancel roof, unusually of painted canvas, contains the same text as that on the chancel screen panels. The stairs to the rood loft remain. The reredos, a particularly fine Victorian mosaic is also very unusual. Further panels were used to form the Alphabet Doors to the tower room. It is believed that they were used to teach village children to read. A further pew end forms the door to a reliquary, in the north wall of the sanctuary holding two skulls, one male, one female, found in 1851, and probuspewreburied here.

probusmosaicAt the east end of the south aisle, is a Tudor brass memorial to Thomas and Cecelia Wolvedon, from the nearby manor of Golden. The pews to the south of this aisle are also associated with the pupils of the former Probus School, which closed in 1960. There is evidence of their attendance here and even more of their lack of attention.  This close association is also to found in the various memorials in brass, stone, slate and stained glass on the south wall. To the east of the organ is the particularly fine Thomas Hawkins Memorial from Trewithen, dated 1776. Above the south door is a rare James II Coat of Arms dated 1685. Over the north door, there is another painted panel thanking the people of Cornwall for their loyalty during the Civil War; a not uncommon feature of Cornish churches.

 

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