Tuesday, January 17

St Symphorian The Church At Veryan Cornwall

St Symphorian church, Veryan, Cornwall

On Friday I wrote about our visit to Veryan in Cornwall in the post Keeping The Devil Away At Veryan, Cornwall. I didn't, however, mention that we also looked in on St Symphorian which is the Veryan church. Nothing spectacular happened while there, other than we noticed, from the visitors book, that the three previous signatures had the surnames of Black, Brown and White!

Inside of St Symphorian church, Veryan, Cornwall

According to legend St Symphorian studied in Autun in France as a young man. He fell out with the local Governor, Heraclius, as he refused to worship the pagan goddess Cybele. Because of his refusal - he even wanted to destroy the goddess's statue - he was arrested and flogged. He still wouldn't alter his beliefs and was finally beheaded. His mother is said to have encouraged him from the sidelines. He was executed on August 22nd 178 - each year the date is now celebrated as St Symphorian's feast day.

The Veryan church adopted St Symphorian as it's patron way back in 1281.

The photo below shows the impressive church roof timbers. Some of this had to be replaced in the 1840s but many of the carved rafters are part of the original roof.

Roof timbers of St Symphorian church, Veryan, Cornwall

There is a theory that the name of the village of Veryan is a corruption of the word Symphorian, this became Severian and then Verian and today Veryan.

The village was noted in the Domesday Book of 1086 as the manor of Elerchi - which is derived from the Cornish language word of Elerkey meaning swan.

Below is the Veryan church font ...

Font at Veryan church, Cornwall

... with detail of the faces carved into the stonework.

Faces on the font at Veryan church, Cornwall

A wall memorial from the 1700s.

memorial at Veryan church, Cornwall

And the remains of a set of stocks linger in the entrance porch from a bygone age.

Stocks at St Symphorian church, Veryan, Cornwall

Outside of the church is a pond, most likely once to have been an old mill pond. To the right of the photo the church can be seen and from here it's possible to walk across country to the Cornish coast.

Pond at Veryan, Cornwall

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  1. Looks so magical as did the previous post that showed those Veryan round houses. Go on do a Cornwall blog, I'll read it!

  2. I'd read a Cornwall blog, too!
    These photos are really terrific and give a detailed sense of what the age of the church.

  3. Suzie and Trish: Thanks for the suggestion but I don't think I have the time to write a Cornwall blog, though the idea does appeal to me. So never say never.

  4. This is wonderful. Can you explain why there are stocks at the entrance of the church? That's the first I've heard of them placed there. :D

  5. I like these posts about Cornwall.
    Armchair traveling may not be the best way to visit a place,but it's the cheapest and I like these little guided tours around Cornwall.

    Interestingly,if you read right through my long winded post about "Dragon:The Bruce Lee Story",you'll see that the director Rob Cohen was born in Cornwall,New York (sync!).

    I love visiting old churches like this,and I'm not a practicing Christian,but I find them such peaceful places,as long as some guy is not in the pulpit spewing out dogma.
    I watched the movie "The Way" this morning.It stars Martin Sheen and his son (who wrote and directed it) and it is about walking the pilgrimage route in Spain.It is a great movie and I highly recommend it to anybody.Very spiritual,and don't be put off by thinking it is a Catholic route,the spirituality is very beautiful in this movie.
    There is something for everyone in this movie,I think.
    And be sure to watch the extra features where Martin is interviewed about the making of the film.
    Truly magical.
    He talks about how his great grandfather (I think?) was a master Slater who built the roof of an Irish church,and whose remains are buried in the church grounds.
    I'm going to do a post about it,because it truly is a great movie that deserves wider viewing.

  6. Therese: The stocks were moved to the church porch, from the village, purely as a safe place to keep them and for general interest. To my knowledge stocks were never associated with churches in England.

    Darren: I noticed from your post that Rob Cohen was born in Cornwall (NY).

    I don't belong to any organised religion but I always visit churches when I'm out and about, especially old ones. There is often a great feel to them built up over hundreds of years.

    Thanks for The Way recommendation.