St Michael & All Angels

Gorgeous church with an Anglo-Saxon name beside an ancient Holy Well and huge Celtic Cross attest to over a millennia of worship.

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'.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Wildlife haven

Visitors information

  • Steps to enter the church or churchyard
  • Car park at church
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

Regular events

  • Regular Sunday services held at 9.30am, all services follow the Book of Common Prayer, please check with website for any special services, or changes to the regular services.

Other nearby churches

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St Breward is a Cornish parish high up on the western edge of Bodmin Moor with some of the highest ground in Cornwall. Roughtor (1312ft, 400m) and Brown Willy (1,378ft, 420m), the two highest peaks, form the edges of the parish. Moorland granite has been used for centuries to build local houses and churches and stone from St Breward quarries was used for important and famous landmarks Tower Bridge and London Bridge.

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St Julitta

St Julitta's dates back to Norman times and nestles peacefully in a river valley set in an ancient landscape, it has interesting links with an early circumnavigator of the world Captain Samuel Wallis and a milestone carving by Rector William Phillipps!

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St Tudy

The church stands at the centre of the beautiful village of St Tudy and was founded at this site in the 6th century. It dates mainly from the 15th century. Monuments include fine slate carvings of kneeling effigies of the Nicholl and Reskymer families. William Bligh of ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ fame was born nearby.

Supported by National Churches Trust, for people who love church buildings