St Ervan, St Ervan
Rare example of Cornish cruciform church, like Tintagel. Chancel and nave not aligned, reputedly representing the broken body of Christ on the cross. Glorious rural setting on way to nowhere. St Ervan is a farming parish near Newquay. A will of 1556 refers to a picture of St Erasmus in the cemetery and later the church’s sole bell was hung there too when the tower was taken down. The chancel was rebuilt in 1665 and it and the transepts have 18th century arches, though chancel roof is still considerably lower than the nave.
- Five carved slate tombstones. These include one to William Pomeroy of 1622. He wears a skull cap, doublet and breeches with a skull below and arms shown are those of the Pomeroys who once owned Tregony castle. William Arthur’s slate tomb dated 1627 shows his whole family, including his wife, 5 sons and 3 daughters, at prayer. All are shown in odd perspective face forward, with bushy eyebrows, and legs or skirts to one side. The boys are smaller than the girls, but all wear similar clothes to their parents, the girls apeing their mother’s taste in hats. The c.1640 Hawkey tomb fragment may have similarly depicted a whole family. Two final slates of 1654 and 1666 are for successive rectors of the church, the latter being an MA of Christ’s College, Cambridge.
- Corbel for statue in north transept with good quality carving of grapes and vine leaves.
- Top stage of the bell tower was taken down in 1883 and not rebuilt until 1954 with a very un-Cornish pyrimidical roof . The medieval bell for which the tower was built sits inside the church. Betjeman’s ‘Summoned by Bells’ was in part based on a visit to St Ervan.