Friday, April 17, 2009

St Ia,St Ives and the lovely ancient Parish Church


These images here are of the ancient Catholic Church, which is now adminstered by the Anglicans (since 1535)A new Catholic Church has been built on the hill next to the carpark to the west of the town (where the bus station is)and images from this beautiful church are shown below. The church also contains a sculpture by Dame Barbara Hepworth , resident of St Ives, who lost her son, Paul on active service in the 1950's and left this contemporary Madonna and Child in the church as a memorial to her son, but prophetically to herself as well.


This is the parish festival, the anniversary of the martyrdom and glorious death of the vergin Martyr Ia, apostle to St Ives.This festival, being a local one has moved around a bit but it became transferred to the first Sunday after Candlemas (Feb 2nd.The Presentation of the Lord)There is hurling,among the sports, which only hapens here and in St Columb Major. In recent times Feastentide has been held on the MONDAY after Candlemas.The silver hurling ball is still thrown from the churchyard wall pon Feast Monday to be fought for on the beach below.

Defence of the Catholic Faith in Cornwall

The first years after Henry VIII putting himself in the Pope's place in England were very hard. Statues were removed from churches and many works of art destroyed. A rebellion began when the King's Commissioner Mr Body (!) was stabbed to death while removing statues from Helston Parish Church in 1548. I have mentioned in a previous blog about Lanherne about sir Humphrey Arundell leading the rebellion. John Payne, the Portreeve of Mayor of St Ives led the St Ives Company .The rebellion, sometimes known as the Prayer Book Rebellion, or the Western Pilgrimage of Grace, demanded that Mass should be restored, the Blessed Sacrament be reserved in Churches, Blessed Bread and Holy Water should be consecrated and prayers offered fr the dead and that Abbey lands should be restored. The rebellion was repressed with extreme cruelty and Sir Anthony Kingston sent to Devon and Cornwall to execute the rebels. Kingston dined with John Payne and the executed him from the gallows erected in front of his own house. John Payne's bench ends(with his coat of arms) can be seen in the church. There is a further monument to this heroic defence of the Faith by the Martyrs of Devon and Cornwall outside the Catholic Church.


There is a Cetic style cross, which has been discovereed in 1883, a cross containing St Peter's keys and the cross of St Andrews. The block had been built into an adjoining wall and painted white and was originally found down on the sea shore between Pednolva Point and Westcott's quay. Clearly it had been thrown into the sea. What sort of hatred can have persuaded people to do this? At some stage the block was returned to the church yard, where it was rediscovered in 1988,repaired where it had been broken by Pascoes of Cambourne. It is possible this cross was added when St Peter and St Andrew were added as patron saints and must have been thrown into the sea by Henry VIII officials.


The Lantern Cross

near the South Porch was also found thrown down and half buried in the churchyard in 1850. Robert Hitchens had it restored and re-erected. The cross is now very weathered but the narrow north side represents St Ia, the south side St Euny another nun who came with her to St Ives and on the eastern side is the Madonna and child, holding the infant Jesus, with two figures on either side (possibly four members of her community)On the western side is God the Father upholding the crucified Son. A cross was often placed at the entrance of a churchyard, or entrance to a monastic settlement. Sometimes it was a preaching cross, when first churches were small mud and wattled or wooden affairs.

1647 Organ destroyed by Puritans, and the ceiling was whitewashed but in 1963 the ceiling was regilded after 1887 gentuine oak panels were place in the roof to celebrate the Anglican Canon Jenkins' 25 years as vicar. Parishioners paid for a panel each.1897 the reredos was restored with beutiful alabaster carvings of St Euny,oses and the Burning Bush, St Nicholas, St Ia, the Transfiguartion, St Leonard.The Altar is made of granite.(The orginal reredos and altar had been smashed up in 1550 by Henry VIII's commissioners, and placed in the floor of the porch, the relics within the altars being destroyed(probably relics of St Ia)
The reredos is lovely but difficult to photograph as it is light alabaster and lit as well.

The Rood.


The present rood beam was placed there in 1932.It had been detroyed by Purians in 1647 and you can still see the access to the rood loft in the small turret in the Lady Chapel. On mediaeval roods , candles would be placed next to the figures of Our Lady St John and Our Lord Jesus.The present choir stalls were made out of the ancient rood screen, a clever way to keep works of art presnt in the church during a time of upheaval and turmoil.Below:Door to the Rood loft.

The Fisherman's Aisle

This aisle faced the sea and there was no stained glass there, so the men could watch their boat. The wondows were, however like those of the mine engine house.The four angels watching over the fishermen were represented by four mediaeval carvings , which were regilded and painted in 1996. St Peter's altar stands at the east end of the Fisherman's Aisle.

The Holy Water Stoup

Instantly recognisable to all of us. The stoup contains holy water with which we remind ourselves of our baptism when we come into church. It isappeared, but when the porch was re-plastered in the 1950's the canopy was discovered in the churchyard and was restored, withwhat may have been an old window canopy from the Celtic church.There is also the piscina recently discovered inside the south door, which may be from the chapel of an earlier building._______________________________________

Oto Trenwith Brass

By the Lady Chapel, fragments ot a brass memorial to Oto Trenwith who died in 1463 show his wife, Dame Agnes invoking St Michael for help against the attack of the Evil One.


You can see the devils being exorcised from the font here!

This is a beautiful ancient church with many pre-'reformation' features shich deserves to be visited by everyone coming to St Ives. Like the Catholic Church it is open to visitors.

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