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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Cornwall

by Jo Lewis, 26 August 2021

Restormel (North) Part 4: Churches of St Wenn to Ruthvoes

Parish Church of St Wenna, St Wenn, Restormel, Cornwall

The Parish Church of St Wenna sits in the middle of the St Wenn. Its dedication is for the sister of St Non (mother of St David, patron saint of Wales). This suggests a early fifth century Celtic church on this site. In the twelfth century it was in the possession of the earl of Gloucester who gave it to Tewkesbury Abbey around 1150. The first vicar was instituted in 1242. The three-stage tower lost its top stage to a lightening strike in 1663, leaving it looking somewhat stocky.

Parish Church of St Wenna, St Wenn, Restormel, Cornwall

The church has a nave and two aisles of three bays. The font is fifteenth century in the Norman style. The structure comprises a chancel (rebuilt in 1823), nave, and north and south aisles. The church was restored by J P St Aubyn in 1886-1889. Coloured glass followed in due course: the east window in 1873, those in the south aisle in 1901. A Victorian chandelier illuminates the 'village pews' and was for many years the pride and joy of Demelza Chapel (below).

Demelza United Methodist Chapel, Demelza, Restormel, Cornwall

Demelza United Methodist Chapel is on the eastern side of the road through the village, just fifty metres or so north of the former Demelza House site. The chapel is marked on 1888 maps as a United Methodist Chapel. Then it became a Free United church. It is still marked as a chapel on modern maps (1988). The plaque above the entrance reads 'UMFC 1871', but the building appears to have been sold in 1990. It is now a converted house called Henjapel ('Old Chapel').

Tregonetha Bible Christian Chapel, Tregonetha, Restormel, Cornwall

Tregonetha Bible Christian Chapel lays on the eastern side of the B3274, at the southern edge of the village. The chapel was built in 1879, confirmed by the large plaque above the main entrance, with a burial ground on its northern and southern flanks. It is marked as a Methodist church on later maps but is no longer marked as such by 1999. There seem to have been a few attempts at a conversion, with eventual success, although it is now a Grade 2 listed building.

Belowda Bible Christian Chapel, Belowda, Restormel, Cornwall

Belowda Bible Christian Chapel (Belowda or Belovely) sits to the west of the village of Belowda, perhaps a touch under two hundred metres from the main cluster of buildings, and on the southern side of the lane. The chapel was built in the mid or late nineteenth century, possibly as a conversion of an earlier building. There are archived accounts until 1992 with correspondence about the chapel's sale in 1992. The building is now residential, also losing its listing in 1999.

Ruthvoes Old Chapel & Well, Ruthvoes, Restormel, Cornwall

The site of Ruthvoes Old Chapel & Well is marked on old maps. It sits on the north side of the lane which enters the village from the east, and inside the v-shape formed by its junction with a northbound lane. This was the site of the holy well of St Columba the Virgin and, according to legend, is where she was beheaded by an over-affectionate local chief. Her death stained a wall with her blood, giving the village its name, 'rudh' meaning 'red' and 'fos' meaning 'wall'.

All photos on this page by Jo Lewis. Additional information from Cornish Church Guide, Oscar Blackford (Truro, 1925).



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