Tremaine, Cornwall

St Winwaloe

St Winwaloe church in Tremaine is one of the smallest parish churches in Cornwall, being just twelve feet wide and forty four feet long. The earliest parts of the church and its font are Norman. The church is simple and charming. It is in an elevated remote location in the beautiful Cornish countryside and surrounded by a graveyard full of wild flowers. The church draws people seeking peace and tranquility.

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Visiting information

  • Architecture

  • Interior features

  • Atmosphere / quiet space

  • Churchyard

  • Social heritage

Features

  • Mostly accessible to all

  • Parking at church or nearby

  • St Winwaloe (image by Cornwall Historic Churches Trust)

  • St Winwaloe (image by Cornwall Historic Churches Trust)

  • St Winwaloe

  • St Winwaloe

  • St Winwaloe

  • St Winwaloe

  • St Winwaloe

St Winwaloe, the patron saint of the parish church in Tremaine, was born of Cornish parents in Brittany in 457AD. After studying with St Budoc he came to the south west as a Celtic Christian missionary. It was the practice of these missionaries to set up a primitive wooden cell to live in which was eventually replaced by a wooden church and then a stone building. It is likely that this is how the church at Tremaine began. In Cornish, Tremaine signifies a place of stone.

The stone building of today was built in the 11th century. The main construction was undertaken by the Bottereaux family.

In 1160, William de Bottereaux gave Tremaine church, along with its mother church at Egloskerry, to the Priory at Launceston.

The church tower, only 31 feet high, was added in the 14th century. The font is Norman, around 1100 and made of local polyphant stone. The gothic altar window is probably 14th century. The south windows have been altered but are probably 13th century. The north window is probably Norman. The main ceiling is from the 16th century and of typical Cornish barrel construction; the curved oak braces decorated at each junction with a carved flower. The altar is Victorian but apart from this the church escaped the Victorian craze for restoration leaving the church unspoilt in its historic simplicity.

The graveyard, which is run on the meadow policy, is home to wild flowers and butterflies, and contains many historic listed gravestones.

Tiny and remote, St Winwaloe is an oasis from the world and a place of peace and contemplation that has stood for around a thousand years in the name of Christ and where all are welcome. The church holds two services a month plus special services and events.

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