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I don’t go to church but I like churches

While attending religious services doesn’t interest me, I do appreciate that churches are usually historic sites and reflect the origins of the settlements they served. Then there are the aesthetics – I love old stone buildings, which the churches in Great Britain typically are.

Probably though it is the graveyards that hold the most fascination, and these were often located in the grounds of the churches we saw.

So yep, if I ‘have’ to visit a church, I’m usually quite happily occupied.

This topic applies to the trip generally but the post focuses mainly on our time in Cornwall where we visited a few churches that ancestors on mum’s mum’s side of the family had frequented.

Our typical routine was: drive to the church; mum and I get out of the car; dad stay with the car; mum go into the church; I frolic around outside; dad survey the immediate surrounds, and wait… and wait…


Forrabury Church

We stayed up on the hill near Forrabury Church during our few days based in Boscastle.

Two crosses outside the church. That’s an ancient Celtic cross in the foreground


St Breward Church

The village of St Breward in Bodmin Moor is home to the church with the highest elevation in Cornwall – though this is more just fact than inspiring selling point as, well, it’s not that high really.

Sundial above the church door


St Tudy Church

Located in St Tudy village, the church was closed much to mum’s disappointment – unfortunately some churches are no longer left open because of theft. So we just had a quick blat around the grounds.

Cross for a solider killed in action in France, 1944


St Gennys Church

The hamlet of St Gennys contains a church of the same name which has wonderful sea views from the sloping graveyard.


St Juliot Church

I recall that getting here required navigating a few narrow country lanes, enough to make you wonder if a church could really be in the middle of nowhere. Very quietly located (if you don’t count the tractor on the farm next door), St Juliot is fairly famous due to its association with the writer and poet Thomas Hardy.


St James Church

The odd one out here being located in Devon. We drove to the village of Ashreigney on the day we left Cornwall but the church was closed. The grounds were fairly boring but included (as many churches seemed to) a border of memorial stones.


Church of St Nonna

No family connection with this place on the north-eastern edge of Bodmin Moor, but as we drove through it on our way back from Lizard Point I felt compelled to stop and take a pic. And for once there was somewhere to pull over to fulfil this whim. The village is called Altarnun and the church is also known as the Cathedral of the Moor.


We also went to Minster Church in Boscastle.

But as churched out as he was after all this, we were still to visit the area of England that his father came from. Sorry dad, there were still one or two more churches to come!

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. People talk about “ABC” in Europe – “another bloody church”, “another bloody castle” – but I love seeing them, maybe because it’s so different from what we get in the new colonies 😉

    24 June 2012
    • Hah – hadn’t heard that one. I guess you’d get over it after a while but yeah I just love how old most things are over there compared to down here!

      25 June 2012
  2. This is great post indeed. In addition to old stone church, I love old wooden churches. They are genuine and differ very much from stone churches.

    25 June 2012
    • Hi – yes I agree, wooden churches are lovely. We have some beautiful examples in New Zealand but I only saw one during our few weeks in the UK.

      25 June 2012
  3. Janice Strong #

    Love this blog Hayley love old churches too and these are so picturesque each one so different the trees and surrounds are so English and the blue sky and sea so blue. Your Mum would have really enjoyed these.

    26 June 2012
  4. Hi Hayley, your photos are simply lovely and I’ve been enjoying your posts. Therefore, I’m nominating you for the Versatile Blogger Award. 🙂 Here’s a link with more info just in case:

    27 June 2012
    • Thanks so much for that. I’m a bit overdue to accept an earlier nomination, so I need to have a bit of a catch up with myself!

      27 June 2012

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