05 January 2017

Cornwall: St Just in Roseland

My Christmas holiday was spent in Cornwall, with a friend who was given the use of a cottage for a week and invited me along. And what a wonderful week it was! This was my first time in this magical county and I was completely won over by the stunning coastal scenery, the charming little fishing villages, the Cornish pasties ...

Our first day was spent revisiting some of the places Sarah had holidayed when she was young, and to get to the area we took a trip across the Fal River on the King Harry Ferry. It dates back to 1888 and is one of only five chain ferries operating in England. It was the perfect way to step back in time to Roseland and to our first stop, at the gorgeous old church of St Just-in-Roseland.  

The first church in honour of St Just the Martyr was founded on this site around 550AD and the present church was consecrated by Walter, Bishop of Exeter, in 1261. The church, and the beautifully tended semi-tropical gardens that surround it, are perfectly situated on an arm of the tidal St Just Creek. If we hadn’t been experiencing the tale end of Storm Barbara, the reflections in the water would have made for stunning photographs, and were still pretty in spite of the grey skies.

Our visit was a couple of days before Christmas so the interior of the church was adorned with a Christmas tree and decorations, and there was a lovely long wreath draped above the main doors on the outside. The roof and the interior have undergone restoration work in recent years so we were able to appreciate the impressive wooden ceiling beams and colourfully painted bosses, the biblical scenes in the wonderful old stained glass windows, the skilled needlework of the kneelers hanging behind all the old wooden pews, and the floral frescoes painted on the walls, the 1693 version of ‘The Lord’s Prayer hanging on the wall, and so much more.

This was a peaceful place to sit a while, and a delightful garden to wander in and listen to the bird song, the perfect beginning to our holiday, before we headed onwards to St Mawes.

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