St Germans Church, Cornwall

St Germans Church, Cornwall

St Germans Church dedicated to St Germanus. It is believed that St Germans Church takes its name from St Germanus, who was Bishop of Auxerre from 380 to 448.

St Germans Church is built on the site of a Saxon Cathedral. Bishops were recorded here from 931 to 1043. King Athelstan made Conan the first Cornish bishop, until 1043 when the see was transferred to Crediton, and thence to Exeter in 1050

St Germans is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. It was 24 hides and belonged to the Church, half to the Canons and half to the Bishop.

The church was rebuilt in 1160 -1170. The West Front between the two towers has a great Norman doorway built of stone from the Tartan Down quarries at Landrake four miles away, which belonged to the Priory. There are windows dating from the Norman building and the late medieval period.

Priory of Augustinian Canons was established in 1180. And they remained here until the Prior and the Canons left in 1539 with the Dissolution of the Monastries.The choir fell into disuse and ruin and was used as a brew house.

The church was consecrated by Bishop Bronscombe in 1261

Sir Nicholas Tamorze intervened in 1358 on behalf of the Cannons and obtained from the Abbot of St Germans Convent in Auxerre two sacred relics, they consisted of one small bone of St Germans arm and part of the shroud in which his body rested.

The Kings agents stripped the priory of everything of value, and sold it as a private residence to John Champernowne, a Devon squire in 1540. The estate then went to his son Henry Champernowne, of Modbury. And in turn he sold it in 1564 to John Eliot a gentleman of St Germans and soon after purchasing took up residence. by 1573 the place was styled Port-Eliot.

The chapel dedicated to St Germanus in which his relics had been placed suffered at the hands of Elizabethan reformers. The carvings of the noches, shrine and sedilla were hacked to pieces, to insert the Royal Arms and a huge monument to Edward Eliot, by Rysbrack. This Monument has now been moved to the north tower.

During the 18th century the Priory buildings were remodeled as we see them today, and only on the cellars are traces to be found of the old monastic buildings.

The Statue of St Anthony of Padua - The wooden effigy of St Anthony in his Franciscan robe at the west end of the church is an relic that was formerly kept at Port Eliot and is said to have belonged to the Priory. Its date is early sixteenth century.

The churchyard is now devoid of any headstones.

St Germans Church parish web site

St Germans Church records on Genuki

Cornwall Churches