Blisland Church - St Protus and St Hyacinth
The church is open every day except Christmas day when it is closed after the 10.00am service. There is a toilet by the Institute and wheelchair ramps are available in the church.
There are unusually three altars in this church. Apart from the chancel there are smaller chapels (the Lady chapel to the north and the south chapel) either side, a south aisle, a bell tower and a smaller chapel to the south with its own external entrance which is now used as a vestry
The additional south aisle makes the nave quite wide. The north and west walls are part of the Norman architecture; there is a Norman door, blocked up, in the north wall which now houses a statue of the Virgin Mary
- Statue of the Virgin Mary in the old Norman doorway
The mural decorations have disappeared but fractions can still be seen in the chancel. In the south aisle of the nave burials under the floor have caused the supporting columns to lean heavily and the restoration of the late Victorian era includes the beam that uses the south wall to prop up the column.
- The nave showing the leaning columns and the beam supporting them
- The James coat of arms
Above the main entrance there are coats of arms of King James 1. These were almost certainly donated by Robert Parker who became rector in 1601 and made Archdeacon of Cornwall in 1616. The King granted him the manor of Blisland in 1614 and for this it is likely he raised the coat of arms
These coats of arms started to appear in churches after Henry VIII declared himself to be Head of the Church in England by royal decree but no doubt Thomas Cromwell was too consumed by the Dissolution of the Monasteries that he did not have the time to enforce it.
It was his daughter, Elizabeth 1, who enforced the decree. Whether our coat of arms replaced an earlier one is not known and we are fortunate that this James coat of arms was not destroyed by the Puritans in the Civil War. (Source: Radio 4 Making History 28th October 2008)
There are stations of the cross depicted on terracotta tablets placed around the church. On the north wall in front of the pulpit and beside the 6th station of the cross is a copy of the picture known as St Veronica's handkerchief.
The story goes that a woman known as Berenike or Berenice, now known in the Latin as Veronica, took pity on Jesus when she saw him carrying the cross to Golgotha. She gave him her veil to wipe his brow and when Jesus handed it back to her the image of his face was miraculously impressed upon it. This veil has become known as the Veil of Veronica. Berenice is a Macedonian name, meaning bearer of victory
- St Veronica's handkerchief
The church has two fonts, the circular Norman of granite, on the left, was recovered from the graveyard and restored by Edward Vernon Collins. It was rededicated on Easter Day in 1911. The other is of the 15th century perpendicular period. The cover is a memorial to William and Emily Clarabut, possibly the parents of the then rector, given in September 1917
Abutting the south aisle is what MacLean describes as the Lavethan Chapel which is now used as the vestry. In 1638 the rector and churchwardens gave Obadiah Reynolds of Lavethan almost unlimited power to erect a chapel and as much seating as was required to house his family. The pews in front of the chapel are at right angles to the main seating of the church and passed in turn to the Treise and the Morshead families
In his book Blisland Church and its Patron Saints Sidney Madge talks extensively of the wagon roof with its carved angel figures, shields and bosses
When the architect responsible for the restoration work in 1894, F C Eden reported on the condition of the roof he praised the work of Tudor and earlier times who had covered the oak timbers and rafters within the nave and transept with evidence of their skill, religious fervour and love of beauty
Some of these had been covered by earlier restoration, but Eden as part of his work uncovered the whole of the roof and can be seen today
The 1894 restoration was organised and partly paid for by Edward Vernon Collins who became rector in 1892 taking it from Francis Woolcock Pye who was the last of three rectors of the parish who had served for a total of 174 years between them
The chancel is separated from the nave by an ornate rood screen, richly carved which was dedicated in December 1896.
Over the centre of the screen stands a cross supported by the figures of St Matthew and the Virgin Mary. These were carved in Oberammergau in Bavaria
When the granite altar was erected, the Rev Edward Vernon Collins placed a lock of his parents' hair beneath the mensa (the flat top). The gilded centre piece was also donated by him and an inscription in the east wall records the date of his death as 12 June 1913.
The North or Lady chapel has an elaborate altar erected in the memory of Elizabeth Clarabut who died in 1917 and was perhaps the wife or mother of the then incumbent. There is a small door in the north chapel that leads to the top of the screen - see Geography and History
The South chapel features a window presented to the church by Mrs Lucy Edward- Collins in memory of her husband the Reverend Charles Matthew Edward-Collins and her son Edward Charles
On the altar is a triptych thought to be in the style of Dutch artist Cornelius von Amsterdam and dating from the early 16th century
The Bell Tower
This was built around 1420 and again is of granite blocks. It has no external door but there is an entrance close by. The walls are between 5 and 6 feet thick. The six bells are described by Maclean as "exceedingly musical and sweet in tone" were cast in 1790 by Christopher and Son and replaced an earlier set of four which dated from the previous century. It is thought that they were renovated in the 19th century when the rood screen was erected as they were re-dedicated in 1908.