Traces at St Materiana’s

A month ago, I spent a day in north Cornwall, a glorious sunny day in early October, one of those bonus days that has to be made the most of. We headed in to Boscastle, but so did everyone else and with nowhere to park we gave that up as a bad job and went instead to Tintagel. I was already rather poorly by then, and was shocked by how rough I felt after walking just two miles along the cliffs, but finding the gem that is St Materiana’s Church made it worthwhile.

Built between 1080 and 1150, St Materiana’s stands high above the sea on Glebe Cliff.

The church doesn’t look particularly interesting from the outside, a typically dull Saxon building, and a sign warning you to keep off the grass because of adders doesn’t help!

The area around Tintagel is believed to have been evangelised by a princess of Gwent, St Madryn, around 500 AD. It’s likely that Madryn and Materiana are one and the same. It is thought that the church is sited on ground that was previously a Celtic oratory, served by monks. Between the 5th and 7th centuries it was used extensively as a Christian burial ground.

Inside the church there is a pre-Reformation altar and a Tudor bishops seat.


What struck me as most unusual was the font, I’ve never seen one quite like it, have you?

Apparently it’s Norman, and it’s believed to have come from the chapel, St Julietta’s  at Tintagel Castle, across the cliffs. Whatever it’s origins, the font and the church are ancient, a trace from the past, for Paula at Lost in Translation.


26 thoughts on “Traces at St Materiana’s

  1. These are beautiful captures, Gilly. While I was looking at them I kept thinking how bad you were feeling :(. I only hope you have recovered completely by now. Thank you so much for bringing this unexpected gem into my TS.

    1. Thanks Paula, I’m so glad you liked them, it’s a lovely area, especially when most of the tourists have gone.I do like church buildings, they are full of history and atmosphere, so if they’re open I always go in!

  2. Very interesting, I had not thought of what they baptized a baby in, what it looked like really,kind of gave me chills when I scrolled down to see the “gargoyles of sort”. I just pictured angels and flowers. Thank you for sharing and hope you are feeling so much better 🙂 Jen

  3. You don’t need to be religious to enjoy the history and architecture of churches. They are mighty interesting and a reflection of their time. Love the workmanship of time gone by. Thank you for sharing. Hope you’re feeling better? 🙂 ❤

  4. What a lovely place, repository of so much history. And of course the mere word “Tintagel” is enough to set the bells ringing! The font is such a solid contrast to the modern uncharming chairs. A wonderful place: I can see how it might offset even such unaccustomed “feeling rough.”

  5. Another lovely tour for me without walking although it must be transcendent to
    stand in the middle of it. The alter is beautiful I agree the font is very unusual.
    It must weigh a lot. I love visiting churches when I’m on vacation. This one is wonderful, Gilly.
    Thank you for posting. Be well …. ❤️
    Issy 😎

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