St Tallan

Of all the churches in southeast Cornwall, St Tallan contains perhaps the most surprises.

About this church

It is in a romantic setting, on a steep westward facing slope, beside the south west coast footpath, between Looe and Polperro. Talland church is a place of peace and tranquility. The approach to the church through the churchyard is lined with headstones, set side by side, which give a sense of watchful history.

Talland church, as we see it today was not built to serve a large community but to maintain a holy site where the Christian faith had been established some 1500 years ago.

The dedication to St Tallan is obscure and virtually nothing is known about this saint, although many Cornish churches are dedicated to missionaries from Ireland and Wales. ‘Tal Lan’ is Cornish for ‘on the brow of the hill, the Holy place’.

The three lancet windows in the west wall date the present church to the 13th century and much of the old woodwork and carved pews remained unspoilt by religious changes.

The first surprise which Talland has to offer is the tower as it is set apart from the church to the south and joined to it by a cobbled porch with a waggon roof. In the tower is a small slated window with interesting perforations which will appeal to card players!

One of the glories of Talland is its bench ends: there are no less than 49 from the early 16th century. The central one on the north side of the south aisle is outstanding: male and female busts with stylised headdresses facing each other, and the seahorses are particularly fine.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Wildlife haven
  • Famous connections

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

Other nearby churches

Riverside United Church

Riverside United Church is situated on the Quayside, West Looe, in an area of outstanding natural beauty.


St Martin

Dedicated to St Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier who cut his cloak in half to give to a beggar, the church is predominantly a medieval building.

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