Tintagel Church, Cornwall

Tintagel Church, Cornwall

Tintagel Church is dedicated to St Merteriane (or Materianas). St Materianas may have been St Madryn, a princess of Gwent, who is believed to have preached here. The present church may have been built on the site of a Celtic oratory run by the monks of Minster. It is outside Tintagel village on a uncluttered site, off the coast path.

Tintagel Church today has a cruciform shape of nave chancel and transepts, and was built between 1080 and 1150. The Norman Earls of Cornwall held Tintagel and built first Bossiney Castle. Then Earl Reginald, a son of Henry I, built the first Tintagel castle on the island around 1141 and probably finished building the church. Much of the existing stonework of the north wall may part of an earlier church incorporated in the Norman building .

The 1940 excavations revealed a crypt underneath the floor containing a number of burials (I have not been able to corroborate this)

Tintagel Church genealogical information from Genuki

The Font is Norman but not of particularly fine example. There are crudely carved heads of serpents at the four corners representing the evil spirit expelled by grace.

St Julitta's Font , the Norman font-bowl by the south wall is from St Julittas chapel at the castle.

The south porch has a perfect Norman doorway, and the north porch has several Saxon features.

The tower has three stages and is finished with battlements. The whole church was substantially renovated in 1870. Further information and history about the parish is available.

The Reredos is made up of part of old bench ends mostly from the nave and dating from the 15th century. The carvings show emblems of the Passion spear and sponge, nails, whipping post and scourges. They also include coats of arms from the Archeknes family, who were lords of the manor of Trebarwith.

Roman Stone. In 1888 it was realised that an abandoned stone on the west wall which had been used to sharpen reap hooks, was in fact Roman. The lettering was found "IMP C G VAL LIC LICIN" and is believed to be name of the Roman Emperor "Caius Flavius Valerius Licinianus Licinius" one of the several rival emperors to the Emperor Constantine and was put to death by Constantine in 324 AD. It could have been a Roman milestone. Another Roman stone bearing the names of the Emperors Gallus and Volusianus (251-253 A.D) is to be seen at Trethevy in the parish.

The West Window. Contains the history of Tintagel. The heraldic shields are of the two patrons of the parish, the Abbey of Fontevrault and St George's Chapel Windsor. Others are of the diocese of Exeter, Bodmin Priory and the diocese of Truro. Robert of Mortain first earl, the seal of Bossiney and Richard Earl of Cornwall. Archdeknes of Trebarwith, Wades of Trethevy.

Cornwall Churches