Luxulyan A Short History of Luxulyan Parish
and The Parish Church of St. Cyriac and St. Julitta
by Dr. John Rowe

Luxulyan - How the Name has Changed
As is the case with many towns and villages in this country, there have been several different spellings of the name over the years whereas its pronunciation has changed remarkably little. However, in this case the local pronunciation, Luck-silly-un, seems to owe more to the very earliest written form so far found, Luxylyan as long ago as 1162, rather than to the current spelling or to most of the intermediate variants.

Also a little unusual is that the current spelling did not become universal until as late as after the turn of the 20th century, immediately before which time at least two other forms were also in concurrent use:
Luxulian throughout an 1894 guide book to Cornwall as well as on Bartholemew's maps, Luxulion in an 1890's Kelly's Directory, whilst the Great Western Railway used Luxulyan in its timetables to qualify the name Bridges by which the nearby railway station was then officially known. Earlier in the nineteenth century, the Cornish parish historian, Davies Gilbert, quoted two alternative forms: Luxulian again and Luxilian, one of the intermediate forms which was closer than most to the local pronunciation Luxulian was also favoured slightly earlier by the topographers the Lysons brothers but, earlier still, the somewhat extended' spelling Luxullian has been found in legal deeds of 1745 while, centuries before that, in 1412 to be exact, the form Lossulyan was recorded. Finally, a fictional variation also deserves a mention.
Back in 1873, Thomas Hardy took the name, albeit slightly changed to Luxellian not for a "lower Wessex place name but for an aristocratic character in his third novel 'A Pair of Blue Eyes'.

Luxulyan and its Saints

Since the early fifteenth century form of Lossulyan is 60 near to the Breton place name Lossulian it has been suggested that the church was founded by St Sulian, one of the party of Welsh missionary monks who accompanied St Sampson to Brittany in the sixth century. Legends grew up around his name. Like many other Celtic saints, he was said to have been the son of a Welsh King - Brucemail, King of Fowys - who had abandoned his heritage for the religious life despite violent parental opposition. The group who travelled with St Sampson to Brittany crossed Cornwall between the estuaries of the Camel and the Fowey It was a missionary journey and, film missionaries of a much. later age, the group and. individual members of it held their rites and services on sites with' pre-Christian religious associations.
Here in Luxulyan there were, in fact, two such sites. The church was later to be built in a round which in all probability coincided with the original churchyard which was enlarged in 1884. Such circular elevated sites, possibly ancient communal or even individual burial places,, had been used for religious assemblages long centuries before the times of the migratory Welsh saints
The second site is that of the nearby holy well,- situated in the side of the steep hill on the left of the road to Lanlivery. This was dedicated to St Cyors in Celtic Christian times, hence the name of the adjacent house. Little, if anything, is known of this saint save his name and an attribution of his origins to Ireland. The well itself has been restored in recent years but, late in the nineteenth century, the construction of the railway cutting beyond the other side of the road was reputed to have "for ever drained. its source. All traditions of particular virtues attributed to this well have long since vanished, lost in an antiquity going Back long before the Christian era.


Irish and Welsh missionary saints were comparatively late arrivals in the Luxulyan area. "Men of the Dawn., as they might rather fancifully be called, appeared and left their traces on the high moors at the northern extremities of the parish. The earthworks and nearby burrows at Castilly were, in fact, never a real castle a. the name had suggested to some older etymologists.
The area has been described by recent archaeologists as being basically "a large enclosure with entrance to a flat central area. and classified by them as a "henge" which can be dated back more than four thousand years, sometime between 2500 and 2200 BC.
Reckoned to be a regional focal point rather than a normal settlement, the site was possibly a centre for trade along the east to west high ground routeway through the length of Cornwall. Furthermore, it presents only a slight detour from track. between the Camel estuary and the south coast havens of the western peninsula.


With stronger claims to be considered a castle, near the southern limit of the parish, is the iron age fort of Prideaux. Technically described as a "multivallate hill fort"., three ramparts survive together with incomplete remains of a fourth surrounding a level circular area of about two acres. Magnificently situated on a 400 foot high conical hill, romantic speculation can colour architectural fact with the realization that, before trees were planted and grew to the east and south, King Mark's 'palace' at Castle Dore wee visible less than three miles distant as the crow flies.
The name Prideaux has a Norman-French 1066, echo to it, suggesting in the early 18th century to the Cornish historian Thomas Tonkin that it derived from: Pres d'eaux, near the waters, for the sea formerly flowed up as high as this place, till the (tin) stream works choked up its entrance, any one that views the high cliffs under this place, and those on the opposite side of the valley in Tywardreath, must needs be convinced of..

The family that took their name from it was certainly prominent in Plantagenet times, but the name does not appear as a manor in the Domesday survey. Oddly, too, the Norman introduction of rabbits into England may be responsible for the hilltop remains In later times being known as Prldeaux 'Warren' rather than 'Castle'.

Domesday Manors

The compilers of the Domesday Survey in 1086 recorded two manors in Luxulyan, "Bodiggo" and 'TrevilIyn ; the former three or four times the extent of the latter which now appears on most maps as Trevellion The place names had the Celtic prefixes of 'Boa' and 'Tre' meaning abode and homestead, but 'Iggo' seems less assuredly Celtic than "villyn" Pre Norman Conquest, the holder of Bodiggo, Aelfrlc, was undoubtedly Saxon; his family may well have settled there four or five generations earlier, after the Wessex invasion of the far western county by Athelstan. However, the name Bretel, holder of Trevillyn, seems Celtic.
In 1086, the two manors together were occupied by some three dozen families, but only four of them at Trevillyn. In addition, there were nine 'slaves' at Bodiggo but it is doubtful if these were serfs or landless labourers. The two manors probably had a total population of 150 when the Domesday record was compiled, possibly a score more or possibly less, with Bodlggo far and away the most populous district within the bounds of the later parish.

Ancient Chapels and Holy crosses

Parishes as ecclesiastical units go back well into Saxon times, but the first mention of Luxulyan as such occurs in a reference in an ecclesiastical document of 1162 to 'Lanlivere cum Cappella de Luxylyan de Bocardel'. That chapel was probably on the site of the chancel and nave of the present church which was enlarged during the fifteenth century spate of church restoration and rebuilding in Cornwall by the addition of the north and south aisles. The oldest feature within the church is the Norman font, the carved animals on which symbolize evil driven out by regeneration through baptism.
Together with the mother church of Lanlivery, the chapel at Luxulyan was linked with the Benedictine priory at Tywardreath, whose monks continued the tradition of religious pastoral care which had been the characteristic of older Cornish Celtic Christianity Before such chapels had been built, members of monastic communities had quite regularly set forth from their religious houses to minister to the laity in places where standing stone memorial of an older pagan faith or wayside route markers stood. Transformed into crosses by Christians, there were at least four of these within Luxulyan's bounds.
The theory that these marked the w V linking Tywardreath Priory to St Benet's Abbey in Lanivet is credible, although the tradition of a haunted mock's way in the woodlands above Pont's mill on the Lanlivery side of the Luxulyan Valley and going by the monastic grange of Gredow suggests another route.
There is, it may be suggested, some possibility that such crosses were actually erected on sites where folk gathered for the ministrations of the travelling monks, although along with such a notion it may be repeated that there was a likelihood that pre-Christian menhirs were turned to Christian uses by modification into representations of the Cross.
Furthermore, the comparatively recent history of these crosses raises doubts as Just where they first stood. That which now stands by the church gate was brought there this century after having been previously removed from Three Stiles on the Halo road north from the village to Bodmin by Rev R Gerveys Grylls, vicar of the parish from 1813 to 1853.
That at Trevellion Lane End on the same highway is known to have been moved at least twice, firstly into the yard of Trevellion Farm apparently to serve as a gatepost, and subsequently redeemed by befog moved to Lockengate church.
A third, at Conce Moor, is also recorded as having been moved to serve as a gatepost elsewhere while the fourth, which we. down in the south-western part of the pariah in the field at Methrose known as Broom Park, we. taken by the Rashlelghs to Menabilly after they had acquired the Prldeaux estate early in the nineteenth century. Medieval Times
There are vast gape in the history of the parish. These gaps are strikingly shown by the list of vicars giving only three names before Henry VIII's matrimonial imbroglios led to the breach with the Papacy. Sir Ralph de Restyn wee 'chaplain' in 1304; it is rather tempting to associate 0a with the place name Resprin, though that location had more links with St Petroc's Priory in Bodmin than with Tywardreath.
Yearly thirty years later, in 1333, one Roger was 'parish priest of' the chapel'. The next recorded incumbent wee Luke Philip in 1497 and, after him, in 1536 when the Henrican Reformation was well under way, Richard Wayte Hardly anything is known of these men, save their names.
There is little record either of other folk who were living in Luxulyan or what they were doing during those years which saw the Anglo-French Hundred Years War and the dynastic feud of Lancaster and York. Lists of names of Cornish Members of Parliament include Prideaux and, from neighbouring Lanlivery, Kendalls
It is unlikely that the parishes caped the ravages of the Black Death or the other epidemics which were so rife in those times, not to mention periods of dearth and famine. There is little doubt that some tin streaming went on together with subsistence agriculture.
However, the most intriguing insight into local life and human shortcomings is provided by the Diocesan Register of Bishop Stafford of Exeter where it records the issue of two commissions on 1st June 1417 affecting the "Sanstorum Ciricii et Juletta de Lossulyan" the first being : 'for the absolution of Robert and William Sakkaiewy, William Trewbys and Richard Kendale, excommunicated for committing a violent assault on William Cowlyn in the Cemetery of the said Church' and the second:' for the Reconciliation of the Cemetery'.
The surnames mentioned can stir speculation but what is obvious from this is that the Church had already been dedicated, or perhaps even re-dedicated, to the eastern Mediterranean saints and martyrs, Cyrus and his mother, Julitta.
The number of church dedications to these saints, including St Veep (on the East side of the Fowey River, near Lerryn) and Newton St Cyers (in Devonshire), has been attributed to returning crusaders from the Holy Land. If this were the case, then the Celtic salute had, in all likelihood, been superseded before the middle of the thirteenth century.

Parish Boundaries

The re-dedication probably coincided with the separation of the Luxulyan 'chapel' from the mother church of Lanlivery and the defining of the eastern boundary of the parish as being along a stream rising on Redmoor. This stream eventually became a tributary of the river now generally known as the Par but sometimes called the Luxulyan River, the lower course of which is down the well-known scenic valley bearing the name of the parish, yet for most of its length the 'Luxulyan' river is the actual boundary with Lanlivery parish.
Is for the boundaries with other parishes - Lanivet to the north; Roche, Treverbyn and Charlestown to the west; St Blazey and Tywardreath to the south - streams and rivulets, outcropping rocks, trackways and prominent trees were all taken as markers.
Despite minatory scriptural injunctions, it is certain that some of these have been moved or disappeared. Even streams and watercourses have been diverted by the activities of the old-time 'tinners', or to provide power for mills while new frocks have been trodden to replace old trees have died or been felled for fuel; ,even rocks have been moved for building or hedging.
It is thus little wonder that 'beating the parish bounds' was an intermittent Whitsuntide recreation. An actual survey of the bounds, as distinct from the regular ceremonial 'beating', was recorded as having taken place in 1896. According to C T Trevail in his book entitled Life and Reminiscences" the leader was the septuagenarian John Trevail, then the only person in Luxulyan who knew the whole boundary, although there was extant then, and there still is, a true copy made in 1783 of a parish document of 1731 which lists all the then bounds.

Boundary Changes on the Cards

The two-day walk along the entire boundary of the parish at Whitsun 1896, began at the old monastic grange of Gredow. Lying on the eastern side of the stream running down from Roseneigh Hill, this would more naturally have seemed to have been part of Lanlivery parish. Perhaps some of the forty parishioners who gathered there that morning - only fifteen completed the entire two-day walk - recalled the tale that 'once upon a time' the incumbants of the adjoining parishes had spent a convivial evening playing cards. The luck of the Lanlivery parson was out. Finally, out of cash, he staked not his shirt or clerical garb but the tithes of Gredow in a final attempt to retrieve matters. His attempt was in vain so the boundaries were changed.
Quite which clerics thus wiled away their time with what certain non-conforming sects fulminated against as the devil's Prayer book is not known, but Gredow was certainly already in Luxulyan parish when the tithe maps of early Victorian times were made. Up to then from the parochial upheavals consequent upon the disolution and dispersal of monastic lands in mid-Tudor time, there had been a dozen successive Luxulyan vicars who night have bested their clerical neighbours in hands of cards. Just possibly it was the parish's nearest approximation- to the Vicar of Bray - well-named Methuselah Sharp who was inducted in 1631 and survived both Charles I and Cromwell apparently to pay his debt to mortality in 1675.

The Rebuilding of the Church in tee Fifteenth Century

The parish church itself has bees enlarged, in fact almost entirely rebuilt, In the century preceding the Reformation by the addition of north and south aisles to the nave and chancel plus the erection of the three--stage western tower. It wee a great period of church building and rebuilding similar to the amount of like activity during the Victorian era. There had doubtless been an economic revival after the catastrophic succession of Black Death and other plagues during the previous century, while previous high levels of population were gradually recovered. Plantagenets, Lancastrians, Yorkists might squander their resources on French wars and dynastic feuds, but funds which an earlier age had been devoted by faithful Christians to crusading activities were, it may be suggested, increasingly being used for ecclesiastical building. Ii' the tradition be true that the turret at the north-east corner of the church tower housed the local stannary records, it is natural to infer that, at the time it was befog built, the tinners of the Luxulyan area were prosperously active. There was plenty, possibly more than enough, building stone at hand for enlarging the church. The local coarse grained granite did not present too many difficulties to local masons who had become adept at cutting and shaping it, although it is still a matter of wonder how some of the massive blocks in the lower part of the church tower were manhandled into place as many must weigh a ton or more. The rebuilding must have taken years rather than months, but labour by the time it was undertaken was cheap again after the wage upsurge caused by the Black Death while building probably progressed apace in times of temporary recessions in tin streaming fortunes. Besides the aisles and tower, the fifteenth century builders added the embattled, stone-roofed porch which is vaulted with Pentewan stone, the sculptured Gothic panelling and tracery showing the erosion scars of age. The original font was moved back to its present position in the extended western end. Behind it, the tower arch is now open to the church; a singing gallery which once hid it was removed in 1863.

The Bells

The peal of Six bells, which are regularly rung, were repaired and re-hung in 1968. Unusually, these bells are rung in an anti-clockwise direction. The earliest record of the bells is in the time of Charles II but, apparently, there were only two bells until the 1760's when two more were added, one of which was the creation of the famous Pennington bell-founders Lastly, the two largest were added in 1902 for a plaque on the Vest wall declares that: The bells in this church were recast, re-hung and added to by Sylvanus Trevail FRIBS of Truro in honour of his father and his mother, John and Jane Trevail of Carne in this Parish" A year later this architect of considerable local repute (responsible amongst other things for the Headland Hotel in Newquay as well as numerous schools, banks and libraries all over Cornwall) committed suicide on a train on the main line near Par. He is buried here in Luxulyan churchyard, only a few yards away from Atwell where he had spent many of his childhood holidays.

Changes to the Fabric since the Restoration

The removal of the Singing Gallery is only one of many changes which have taken place within the church during the ensuing five centuries. Old records reveal that the singers were accompanied by a number and variety of string and wind instruments before the Victorian introduction of a harmonium. This in turn was replaced in 1911 by the magnificent organ deservedly reputed to be one of the finest in the county. The dedication service on June 1st 1911 was followed by a 'public tea' in the Vicarage garden and the school was closed for the afternoon to allow everyone to attend. The arches of granite supported by monolith pillars of the same material on the inner sides of the aisles remain as they were built, enduring testimony to the skill and aesthetic taste of the craftsmen who erected them. The nave roof timbers were removed in 1880 whereas those of the aisles remain, though they might become a mayor source of concern in the future. The Chancel & Screen was taken down in 1825 but the site of the stairway to the R off Loft on the north side can still be seen. Only in the west window of the tower are-there remains of fifteenth and sixteenth century stained glass. These were collected and placed there when the Chancel window was renewed as a memorial to Sylvanus Trevail who died in November 1903. The old glass had had representations of the arms of Prideaux, Hearles and other locally prominent families ant its colours are particularly fine and clear, especially when seen against a weltering sun. Twice removed was glass depicting the arms of Robert de Cardinham, one of the reputed founders of Tywardreath Priory, which had originally been in the east window of the south Aisle. Another modern window in the south aisle, between the tablet memorials to Luxulyan's dead of the two twentieth century World Wars was-erected in memory of Richard ant Laura Rundle of St Winnow Laura Rundle was the sister of Sylvanus Trevail who erected the previously mentioned Chancel window in his memory. It can be surmised that in pre-Reformation or pre-Cromwellian times the church interior was more richly decorated than in later days. To the illiterate who comprised the greater part of the congregations in those earlier eras, a picture was the most graphic and telling expression of sacred and secular messages which the more learned wished to communicate to them. It is likely that, where now there are slate and marble monuments mainly depicting more recent times, there were representations on the plastered walls of Biblical themes and, even more probably, dreadfully minatory representations of Judgement Day. Little trace, if any, of the old plastering can be seen on the bare stone walls of Luxulyan Church but, in other Cornish parish churches, notably Germoe and St Just in Penwlth, wall paintings of these earlier times survive. A later vicar had the inspiration to bring and position against the north well a copy of the Ghent altar-piece which was completed by Jan van Eyck in 1432. There is some supposition that the work, which depicts the Adoration of the Lamb, was begun by his brother, Hubert, who died in 1426. What is certain is that the Eyck brothers developed and perfected techniques for painting in oils, thereby achieving masterpieces of colour and light bedside which the twentieth century's self-styled 'glorious technicolour seems anaemlcally pallid. Such colours were to be seen in many churches in those times - they were expressions of faith rather than, as so mane later 'Reformers' and 'Puritans' feared, a distraction from true religious worship.

Church Memorials

Times and tastes changed but although the church may now be bereft of its earlier adornments, there are a few later memorials which deserve some passing attention from visitors

The Rashlelghs, who acquired Prideaux in 1808, are prominently commemorated by the marble memorial in the south aisle. The lower part was erected by John Colman Rashleigh, later Sir John, in memory not only of his first wife, Harriett who died in 1832 at the age of 55, but also to three of their four children who pre-deceased her. The upper part was erected in memory of Sir John himself following his death in 1847 by the sole surviving son and heir, Colman.

The oldest of these memorials, now placed on the west wall, is that to Walter Hicks, who died in July 1636. He had lived in Lower Menedew, later to be written Menadue and to become the home of the Trevails, which at that time was a residence of almost quasi-manorial status since the decline of the old Domesday manors.

Trevillion one of those manors, in the latter part of the eighteenth century was the home of the Eudy or Udy family. The memorial to the Eudys on the north wall lists the two parents, four sons and a daughter who all died between December 1761 and July 1788 while that to the three Udys (Henry, Ann, and their son, Hart) records the fact, which seems to stress a superstitious belief rather than a mere coincidence, that they all died on a Friday within less than a year of one another between May 1789 and March 1790.

Also on the north wall is a memorial to Joseph Carveth, vicar of the parish, who died in 1728, the only vicar to be so honoured, tablet on the south wall is to Elizabeth Rosevere who died on the 21st of September 1765 at the age of 61. Widowed twenty years earlier, the inventory of the estate left to her to administer by her husband, William who had lived at Chytan, is an indication of the material possessions of a substantial local 'yeoman', the status of folk like the Udys at that time.

How prices and currency have changed since the mideighteenth century is shown by some of the 1745 valuations of William Rosevere's possessions
Calves were valued at ten shillings (50p) each, a cow at 3 lb a group of seven cows and a bull at 24 lb whilst sheep were between six and seven shillings each (30-35p). In all, the live farm stock was valued at 119/16- (119.80) Very minimal valuations were put down for the various household goods and small hand tools, while the only item in a category equivalent to farm machinery went down as 3 lb for 'a Butt Wain and Wheels and all other Implements of Husbandry'.
The total value of the estate was estimated as being not less than lb 1, 134/13/31/2 (lb 1, 134.66 1/2p) However, Rosever had no less than lb 99/10/- (499.50p) in 'cash found in his Custody at the time of his Death'; four 'Chattle Estates' let out on lives in Chytan, Higher Bodiggo, and Tredinnick reckoned to be worth lb 242; shares in tin bounds and 'adventures' valued at lb 38/7/- (438.35p), and no less than 80 lb in 'white' tin lying to his credit in Truro. He had left his widow reasonably affluent, despite the fact that over forty per'cent of his estate had been put down by the appraisers in the inventory as 'Debts Separate and Disperate the Particulars of which are ready to be produced if Required'.
One who was probably far less affluent at this time was the parson. In 1746 the Rev John Cole described his vicarage at Luxulyan as being 'very old, of stone and cob and thatch. The parlour planked walls plastered and also the parlour chamber (i.e. bedroom above) The other chambers have only their walls whitewashed and the ground floors floored with earth.' The previous year he had informed Bishop Cleggett that, besides Luxulyan, he also served Lanhydrock 'which is one of the least parishes of the diocese, and for the serving of which I cannot legally demand anything for the stipend depends upon the generosity of the family of Lanhydrock."
Further back in time, in 1680, the then Vicar, Mark Truebody, had in another terrier summarized the vicarage house as consisting of '2 ground rooms, a chamber over. A garden adjoining and a courtledge Cole's successor, his son Francis, replying to an Episcopal 'circular' in 1779 enquiring among other thing" whether or not the beneficed clergy in the diocese were residing in their livings, stated that he was living at Trengosse (which he described as 'no great distance fro. Luxulyan' as the vicarage was too "nail. Being the other side of Roche, it was nearer six miles than five even as the crow flies so a journey of over eleven mile- there and back was not all that not allthat short on horseback and certainly not on foot - any other mode of transport between the two places in the latter part of the eighteenth century seems rather unlikely.
Forty years later things were no better. The then Vicar, R G Grylls, replied to a similar episcopal enquiry that he was serving the curacy of Crowan, but that the Vicar of Lanlivery, the Rev Nicholas Kendall, served as curate for him at Luxulyan. Kendall had told him that at Luxulyan 'the house of reef dence is not in good repair and he stated that he would 'order it to be repaired immediately'
The outcome of those 'repairs' transpired to be the building of an entirely new house of three floors with spacious reception rooms and set in grounds of almost five acres. The Rev Richard Gerveys Grylls had become Vicar of Luxulyan in November 1813, the fifth living he had acquired. After graduating LL.B at Cambridge, he had been instituted Vicar of Breage, Germoe, Gunwalloe and Cury but he relinquished the last two of these livings in 1846, holding the others, with Luxulyan, until his death in November 1852.
In his long career he must have employed several Junior clergy as curates, and the Vicarage which he built - and twice further extended during his lifetime - assuredly indicated quite conspicuous affluence, perhaps causing the somewhat unquiet spirit of Parson Cole to haunt the extensive vicarage grounds around the veritable mansion. The first extension almost doubled the building's size and gave it its characteristic bay windowed reception room which was used, certainly in later years at least, for Sunday & hoof classes. The second extension, completed in 1843 by a builder named Bray, was far more modest. Comprising servants' quarters and a dairy, it was only two storeys high and, unlike the rest of the house, it was not timber framed. It is thus small wonder that later incumbents found it almost impossible to maintain (not to mention heat to a comfortable temperature in winter).
The maintenance burden finally became t oo great so the vicarage was sold by the church in 1968 and the name changed to 'Kings Acre'. Grylls' handsomely landscaped gardens were subsequently divided and two new houses, plus the new vicarage, have been built on the resulting plots. After having served variously as a hotel, restaurant, and holiday flats, the main building is now a private residence.
Although more modest in size, the Rev Humphrey, York described the new vicarage (which was completed in 1976 so which he only briefly occupied before he moved to Sheviock) as 'still larger than an average home, as it has to provide a study for the vicar to work in and also room for some parish meetings, besides being big enough for a family.'

"Parish Houses" for the Poor

The fate of the original vicarage, in which Truebody and the older Cole had lived in cramped discomfort, tempts the speculation that, since it obviously appertained to the parish, it was turned over upon completion of the new building to the local parochial authorities to provide a second 'parish house'. In the early 1840's there were two of these, a little way from and on both sides of the main church gate.
The mound opposite the Post Office within the churchyard walls is definitely the site of one of these houses. During its demolition in April 1864, the surprising discovery was made in the cavity of a wall of about eighty silver coins which dated back to the time of Elizabeth 1 and the first two Stuarts
Were they hidden there in the 1640's when rival Royalist and Parliamentarian forces were cavorting about south-east Cornwall and ordinary folk felt the need to safeguard their possessions from the freebooting proclivities of both of them?
If they were, then it seems certain that the old parish house would have provided a safer deposit than Lostwlthiel for the Stannary Records reputed to have been moved thence from the turret of Luxulyan church tower for safer keeping.
Unaware of the wealth hidden so close at hand, many generations ,over the years of impoverished Luxulyan parishioners spent their last days in this almshouse or others in the village like it. Certainly coming Into the categories of Cromwell's guiltless of their countrymen's blood and of mute, inglorious Miltons incapacitated by accident, sickness, debility or the infirmities of old age, they were brought there to end their days and then to find, nearby, an unmarked pauper's grave.
A few scanty parish records concerned with relief to the parish poor before the implementation of the Poor Law In 1834 and the establishment of the Union Workhouses do, however, reveal the names of a- few of then. So, along with the Rashleighs, Grylls, Udys, Roseveres, Trevails, Hicks and the dead of two World Wars, there is still some record of persons like James Choley who, in April 1827, fell sick and applied for relief from the parish poor rates. This appears to have been reasonably promptly paid to 0a by one Joseph Polsue, one of the overseers.
By August that year, one of the women parishioners was fairly regularly attending to his needs, besides which the parish w as making payments on his behalf at ten day intervals for .... a plot of brandy. Admittedly, though, it only cost somewhere between a florin and a half-crown a time; that's 10 to 12 1/2p in modern measures.
Late in September he was moved up from the bottom of Bridges Will to 'Churchtown' Over the nest couple of weeks, there were payments on his behalf for blankets, calico, soap and candles as well as firewood. The entries for 0a end on October 18th with two shillings for a pint of ru and a pound for a pauper's coffin.
Over the years there were many cases of this kind. Charity obviously abideth and not all those in receipt of it felt its bread to be bitter.

Luxulyan's Vicars Hope and faith also abided. There was the succession of incumbents, twenty-four in all since Richard Wayte came to Luxulyan in 1536, to be succeedeed in 1549 at the height of the mid-Tudor Protestantism by Robert Chamlet who lived through the days -of Marian persecution. There then followed:

Thomas Birkenhead 1562
John Head 1570
John Gillard 1594
Peter Wellington BA 1623
Methuselah Sharp 1631
Mark Truebody 1675
Joseph Carveth MA 1684
John Cole 1728
Francis Cole MA 1773
John Lewes XI 1796
Richard Gerveys Grylls LL.B 1813
Cuthbert Edgecumbe Hosken BA 1853
Henry Walter Taylor MA 1870
John Kendall Rashleigh BA 1874
Richard Coward MA 1891
Robert Sinclair Kendall 1900
Charles Frederick Jones MA 1903
William Elwell MA CF 1937 (also vicar of Lanlivery from 1953)
Robert Ross Somervell 1958
Humphrey Bowmar York BA 1966 (Priest-in-charge)
Michael John Adams BA 1983
David John Keighley BA 1989

To the enduring succession of the faithful who served the Church and continuing generations of parishioners who regularly or intermittently attended, it should be added mention of changes and additions over the years which have adapted the abiding Christian ideals of faith, hope and charity to time's transiencies.
The granite of the structure may be nigh eternal, but the woodwork has not been. Canon John Kendall Rashleigh, during his encumbency in late Victorian times carved the lectern and from his family home at Prldeaux cane panels of carved wood now on the pulpit.
In recent years, the Lady Chapel has been improved by several gifts of furnishings while the High Altar has been beautified by new hangings. Formerly, carved wood adorned the reredos and altar. The Parish Church possesses an Elizabethan Chalice and cover and a Paten dated 1576 but, naturally, they are not kept in the Church. More recently, in 1986, the Reserved Sacrament was re-lntroduced.
An extension to the churchyard, which is owned by the village and administered by the Parish Council rather than the church, was dedicated in 1971 and a further portion at the lower end was consecrated by the Bishop of St Germane on June 22nd 1989. The extensions are located a little way down the lane beside the church, known locally as Church Hill, which leads to Atwell thence onwards to Helman Tor. Being close to the tracks followed by Sulian and the other Celtic saints who travelled across Cornwall on their way to Brittany, this lane now fores part of the Saints' Way footpath leading throughout from Padstow to Fowey.

Luxulyan Today

Away from the Church there is more evidence of change. Modern housing developments occupy most of the glebe lands which formerly separated Bridges from Luxulyan proper and which were farmed amongst others by parsons Cole and Grylls. The remainder of this land was devoted to the new school. The panoramic view of Churchtown from the tortuously winding road from St Austell and St Blazey Gate is thus hardly as impressive as it would have been in former times.
Coning down the inaptly termed 'main road' from Bodmin and points north, the hilly terrain conspires with the notorious Cornish hedges to obscure all distant glimpses of the village so the traveller has at least reached the relatively recent Village Hall if not closer still to the heart of the village before realizing that he has arrived. Even from the high ground between the Village Hall and Kltts Corner, the view of Churchtown in general and the Church in particular, is severely restricted by the tall beech trees planted by Grylls over 150 years ago which surround the former vicarage.
Hence, today it may be reckoned that the most delectable aspect of Luxulyan and its Church is that seen coming down the hill from Lanlivery, passing Gredow, or perhaps further down the hill, Just after the lane from Prideaux which winds through the magnificent Luxulyan Valley Joins in at Gattys.
The present-day Parish of Luxulyan is rather long and narrow in shape, with St Blazey Bridge on the A390 St Austell to Liskeard road at its southernmost extremity and Innis Downs, with its British Telecom Maritime Radio Station and roundabout signalling the end of the A30 Bodmin by-pass, in the north. The current adult population is Just under one thousand of whoa roundly one third live in the village, the remainder being dispersed amongst the numerous hamlets and farmsteads which make up the parish.

Luxulyan Valley and the Treffry Viaduct

Mention of the Luxulyan Valley might recall the brief comment in Murray's 1859 "Handbook of Devon and Cornwall. which sums it up so well 'a beautiful romantic scene of wood and rock, - indeed one of the finest, if not the finest, of all Cornlsh valleys'.
Quarrying activities many years ago left scars on the landscape which, with the passage of time, have either completely healed or actually add to the wonder of the scene. The same can be said of the magnificent viaduct of ten arches which spans the valley less than a mile from the village. This structure was erected between 1839 and 1842 by the local industrial magnate, Joseph Thomas Treffry of Place, Fowey.
It was, and indeed still is, both a viaduct and an aqueduct for below the trackbed of the former tramroad (used for transporting granite and china clay from the quarries around Bugle to the shipping point at Par) runs the water which was needed to turn a huge water-wheel to haul the returning empty wagons up Carmears incline as well provide power for the Fowey Consols and other mines further down the valley then mainly owned by Treffry as well. With a height above the valley floor of one hundred feet, it is almost certainly the largest combined aqueduct/viaduct in Great Britain and, after fears had been expressed locally for some time about its future, these were allayed early in 1989 with its purchase by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.


Treffry, or rather the Trustees of his estate as he died in 1850, brought a geological feature seemingly unique in the parish into national prominence. Outcropping in a field at Trevanny Farm, appropriately known as 'Shabby Rock Field was a boulder of coarse porphyritic granite which was deep pink in colour and thickly spotted with black hornblende.
After the Duke of Wellington died in 1852, there was a long search for a fittingly unique material to form an appropriate sarcophagus for his remains in the crypt of St Paul's. Finally the Trevanny 'Shabby Rock' was chosen so this seventy ton mass of 'Luxulianite' was excavated, a wn and polished on the spot, the material proving so hard that special tools had to be made to deal with it. The work, which cost lb 1,100. took no less than two years to complete while upwards of a score of horse teams were required to move the sarcophagus for the final finishing touches and ultimate despatch from the Treffry workings at Lanescott.
Fragments. of Luxulianite are still found in the Trevanny neighbourhood, much of it reputed to be the waste chippings from the carving of the Iron Duke's sarcophagus. Many visitors to Luxulyan ask for souvenir specimens of the rock, but these are increasingly rare, despite reports of some deposits of this type of granite having been found when excavating the foundations for new houses nearer to St Austell. A polished piece of Luxulianite was presented to Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee in 1977.

Luxulyan Church and the Stannaries by Rob Pearce

The tin industry in Cornwall was an important source of employment from earliest times. As the importance of the tin trade grew, the need to protect those persons engaged in it became apparent. In 1197 Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, despatched William de Wrotham to be Warden of the Stannaries and to Protect the King's Revenue. In 1201 a charter was conferred which confirmed the already ancient rights of the tinners. The mining districts of Cornwall formed four Stannaries - Foweymore Blackmore, Tywornhail end ' the United Stannaries of Penwith and Kerrier.
Luxulyan Church Tower is said to have been the repositry for the Charter for Blackmore. This Stannary was made up of eight Tithings - Trethevy, Pridis, Boswith, Treverbin, Trenance Austle, Tremedris, Tregarrack, and Miliack. It is thought that this is the oldest of the Stannaries and that the charter, which conferred its own set of unique rights and privileges on the tinners, was kept in a coffer with eight locks, each tithing having a key.
It must be remembered that, up to the sixteenth 'century, most of the 'tinners work' was in streaming and that underground mining played only a minor role. Evidence of streaming can still be seen in the valley near Prideaux and of more recent workings at Red Moor - each reworking of the ground destroying the earlier evidence of working.