The Church and the Edward-Collins family
The Edward-Collins family has had a long association with the church. The family have lived on the Trewardale Estate on the edge of the village since the mid 1600s and the current owner Charles served as churchwarden for over 20 years as did his father, Thurstan, before him
The grave of Vernon Edward-Collins is situated a few steps beyond the front door of the church
Vernon had other talents. He was an outstanding craftsman in embroidery and his beautiful work can still be seen today in the church - here the priest's vestments and altar frontals are still in use. We are very grateful to Charles Edward-Collins for his help and advice on the history of the family association with the church
Edward Vernon Collins was rector of the church from 1892 until his death in 1913. He was a cousin to Charles Matthew Edward-Collins who inherited the estate in 1840, the year after Vernon was born. He was a well-travelled man who appears to have been greatly struck by the decoration of churches in Florence and elsewhere in Italy. He is known to have acted as chaplain to the British community in Rapallo and elsewhere in Italy.
When he came to Blisland it was in need of substantial repair. With the support of his cousins at Trewardale, he appointed a young architect F C Eden to survey and carry out extensive restoration rectifying earlier unsatisfactory repairs. We are fortunate that these repairs were in good taste unlike much Victorian church restoration. This good taste was much appreciated by Sir John Betjeman, a great lover of good church architecture and decoration.
The stabilisation of the south aisle was a key requirement and the huge beam that now supports the pillars is believed to have come from Exeter. Vernon dedicated the work to his father John Basset Edward Collins and to Charles Matthew Edward- Collins as depicted in the stain glass window to the south east of the south or Jesus.
The church was reopened after the restoration on 13 December 1894 by Bishop Gott of Truro chapel
But Vernon's work was not complete. The bells were restored in 1908, the Norman font recovered from the graveyard and restored in 1911 and the pulpit restored and the lectern installed in 1912
Charles Edward-Collins, Deputy Lieutenant of Cornwall, opens the renovated Institute with Dominic Fairman chair of the Parish Council