St Neot, Cornwall

st neot cornwall towns

St Neot is a small village in a deep wooded hollow, just south of Colliford Lake, Bodmin Moor's largest reservoir. The village originally grew up on wool, tin and slate, but that has all gone now.

St Neot himself, said to have only been 4 feet tall, appears on one of the stained glass windows of the church. The stained glass windows of the church are said to be some of the finest examples of medieval stained glass in England. Around half of the glass in the windows dates from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. There are a number of fine crosses in the church yard, including the shaft of one from the ninth century.

The St Neot well is also dedicated to the saint. Standing at the foot of a rocky outcrop covered in trees the waters of this well, restored in 1852, are said to cure sick children, particularly in May around the time of Beltane.

During the Civil War, the village supported the King cause and this is still commemorated each year by placing an oak branch on the church tower on Oak Apple Day. The story being, of course, that King Charles escaped from his pursuers by hiding in an oak tree.

Dozmary Pool perhaps the site of Excalibur's final destination in the Legend of King Arthur.

Gilbert's History of Cornwall records ""The relics of St Neot remained at his monastery in Cornwall till about the year 974, when Earl Alric, and his wife Ethelfleda, having founded .a religious house at Eynesbury, in Huntingdonshire, and being at a loss for some patron saint, adopted the expedient of stealing the body of St Neot; which was accordingly done and the town retains his name, thus feloniously obtained, up to this time. The monastery in Cornwall continued feebly to exist after this disaster through the Saxon times; but having lost its palladium, it felt the ruiner's hand; and almost immediately after the Norman Conquest it was finally suppressed."

A few miles to the west is the hamlet of Warleggan, known for its eccentric rector, known for its eccentric rector, Fredrick Densham, who was the parish priest from 1931 to 1953. Disliked by his parishioners he built a high wall round the rectory and withdrew from the world, as no villagers would go to his church he preached to an empty church and filled it with cardboard cutouts for a congregation. He had put up a barbed-wire fence around the rectory gardens, had threatened to sell the organ, which was a memorial to the Fallen of the First World War. The Bishop listened to the Rev Densham's explanations and found that he had no reason to remove him from his post. With that, the Church Council resigned in a body and the whole congregation refused to enter the church again.

Carnglaze Slate Caverns are just outside the village

St Neot, Cornwall genealogical information from Genuki


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