About this church
Known as Michaelstow, the Anglo Saxon for 'holy place of St Michael', this peaceful church is dedicated to St Michael & All Angels.
Tradition is important in this special place where tantalising evidence of centuries of worship and faith abounds. Approaching from the west your eyes are drawn upwards to the full height of the tower which stands over the granite stairway to the churchyard, guarded now by the 10 feet high Celtic Cross. This granite monolith was recovered from the steps and reinstated in the churchyard during Victorian renovations.
Arriving by the east end of the churchyard a grassy bank (please take care, it may be slippy) leads by the 12th century housing of the Holy Well which is beside the south porch with its fine 15th century carved waggon roof. The well is testament to this being a sacred place in the early days of Cornish Christianity.
The list of Rectors begins with William le Brun in 1280 and the earliest part of the existing church, the north wall and aisle, is 13th century. Outside, the north wall contains a quatrefoil pierced stone, from a squint window perhaps used to administer the sacrament to lepers travelling from the Bodmin colony. Traces of an arch are all that is left of the 14th century Anchorite’s cell.
Entering the church, the north wall is dominated by George II’s Royal Coat of Arms ,dated 1727. The octagonal font sits on a Norman base at the rear of the church. Although not particularly comfortable, the 15th century pews are noted for the medieval carving on the bench ends. They were saved from St Tudy church where Victorian renovators threw them on a bonfire. Those 15 original benches are supplemented by pews carved in a similar style by 'Harry Hems and his merrie Men at Exeter in 1882'. The 15th century Perpendicular east window in the north aisle contains fragments of earlier glass. The chancel window (1906) is a fine example of a youthful St Michael by renowned artist Louis Davis. He is described as 'the last of the preRaphaelite artists'.