St Breward Paridh Church Cornwall from History of St Breward a History of the village of St Breward, History of a Cornish Village, Jackie Freeman Photography St Breward, Cornwall

St. Breward Parish Church

St. Breward a Cornish Village in English History  PART II

Saint Bruardus & the Parish Church

Written by David Freeman

for Secret Britain

Church St Breward Cornwall.  

St Breward, its Church and the mystery of how St. Breward got its name

Above: The Parish Church of St Breward in Cornwall.

Photograph © Jackie Freeman Photography - St. Breward – Cornwall

Saint Breward.

 

Above: St Breward  aka  St Brelade

aint Breward, an ancient hillside village in north Cornwall, lies perched on the edge of Bodmin moor high above the picture perfect Camel river valley.

 

 St Breward's name was born it's said, as a tribute to the great Celtic monk, the Raven Lord - Branwallader, the son of Cornish King Kenen, to whom it's thought the village Church of St Breward was dedicated back in in 1278. But was it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

his God fearing wandering Breton Saint Branwallader is also known in wider circles as Saint Brelade,  alongside his alternative names of; Brélad - Broladre, Brelodr, or Bruardus from which the simple derivation of the name St Breward was likely honed. But one thing is for certain, he was one utterly dedicated holy man who set out amongst many other extraordinary devoted knights of God who travelled the land far and wide, seeking out peaceful places of solitude in which to worship and spread the good word.

 

 So it is quite possible that this fine man of God walked the very roadways and quiet lanes around St Breward over a thousand years ago and had a very real and physical connection to Cornwall.

Church Carving.

Holy Well St Breward.

Crnish hedgerow and gate near the Holy well St Breward.o

Photograph © Jackie Freeman Photography - St. Breward – Cornwall

 
   

rave wandering disciples like St Brelade brought their own form of Christianity to the Celts of Cornwall and in the darkest hours of the sixth century, in so doing, legend has it that St Brueredus was martyred near St Breward. So it falls to this particular God fearing evangelist, Branwallader, the Raven Lord and his work alongside Saint Samson of Dol,  that the Parish Church of St Breward is truly dedicated and thus the villages name St Breward is derived.

 But, in true Cornish and St Brewardly fashion, as if sent to confuse and befuddle us just a little more, Mother Cornwall adds a twist in history to its hilltop daughter’s possible christening. 

 

 

 

 

 

King Richard Deed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Now we know that in a deed signed in the reign of King Richard the 1st of England, the village church of S. Breward is named S. Briwerdus de Hamatethi, effectively linking the village directly to to the Doomsday book's citing of the adjoining hamlet called Hamotedi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 William Lake the great Cornish historian confirms that the church of St Breward standing proud here at Churchtown, was mentioned in 1294 as Ecclesia de Bruerd, (Ecclesia de S. Brewerdi) but then comes about a twist in the tale.

 

Parish Church in St Breward Cornwall.                                                    

The Parish Church of St Breward:

Photograph © Jackie Freeman Photography - St. Breward – Cornwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

t Breward church's actual founder, so the history books tell us, was a man called William Briwere. Here we go again with the multiple spellings!

Aka; William Brewer, William Briwereor and William de Briwere, who was son of William Lord Brewer, who was the Baron of Odcombe in Somerset.

William Briwere by the way, was a crusader & consecrated the Bishop of Exeter in 1224, so a very highly regarded man. Even so, it's down to simple illiteracy that so many different forms of names sounding alike, derive.

 

 It was William Bruere  its recorded, who added his own 13th century building work hewn from locally quarried granite to the then previously existing Norman church at St Breward. A fine church building which stood where it now stands high above St Brewards sprawling village and back when the village was just a string of tiny separate hamlets set along a spine of granite.

 

 So is it just coincidental that William Briwere's surname would give rise to the name of the village through the addition of a letter 'd' at its end. With Bruered giving us St Breward?

I don't think so.

If that were the case it would be called Breward today but very specifically it includes the SAINT prefix.

 

 Some theorists add to the intrigue by suggesting that it may be reasonably supposed that St Brewards name was derived from the French word “bruyére,” meaning broom or heath describing the land about the village, but this holds less water in the argument.

 One thing's for certain. Variations of the spelling of names are simply put, usually down to human error, misinterpretation and simple illiteracy, much the same as the many variations of a single sounding surname can spelled so differently. So, Surman, Syrman, Serman, Surmon and so on vary. They sound the same but are spelled entirely differently.

 

     

 If that wasn't enough confusion for the onlooker, the village of St Breward was in its time also known as Simonward and there are all sorts of ponderings

about how on earth that came about? Least of all is a theory based upon the legend of King Arthur, that the village was named after the Kings personal brewer, Simon Ward. Well, as the legend is after all just a legend and there are no supported facts, it holds little academic support as a theory.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

The Parish Church of  St Breward - Cornwall

 

Rector: Canon Sherry Bryan
The Rectory,  Green Briar, Coombe Lane, St. Breward,
Bodmin, Cornwall  PL30 4LT

Tel: +44 (0)1208 851829

 

Stain Glass Window
Tombstone Lewis Adams, Vicar  Church of St Breward 1571 to 1607
Part of one of the Victorian glass windows of the church of St Breward

 

Tombstone of Lewis Adams, Vicar incumbent of the Church of St Breward 1571 to 1607

Photograph © Jackie Freeman Photography

- St. Breward – Cornwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 his fine church building standing proud and prominent high above the Cornish countryside in the village St Breward, stands on what is believed to be the site of an ancient Celtic oratory and ultimately early prior Saxon remains which were built upon in the thirteenth century and dedicated in the manner previously described.

Though the original Norman chancel walls remain to this day and some of the Caen stone pillars of the nave, much has changed over the years, partly by design, much sadly by necessity.

Pews St Breward Church.

 

 

 

 

Painted carved reliefs from Rood screen.

Interior -Parish Church of St Breward: Photograph © Jackie Freeman Photography - St. Breward – Cornwall

 

 

 

 

 

 Enlargements to the original church building took place in the 15th century when a further aisle, visible in the image above was added. A traditional timber wagon roof was also added and the bell tower and the porch also date from this time. But disrepair and the ravages of time took their toll and it was down to one great man,

Dr George Martyn the vicar of St Breward from 1851 to 1882, to rally all and refurbish the building. This was completed under the supervision of James Piers St Aubyn. Known widely as a church architect and restorer.

 George Martyn was also responsible for the building of the St Breward school and for the Vicarage.
Well loved and respected for his work, he was latterly made an honorary Canon of Truro cathedral
.

So it would seem another Doc Martin has trod these well worn Cornish paths before!

Above: One of the painted carved reliefs believed to be from the original Rood screen. Photograph © Jackie Freeman Photography - St. Breward – Cornwall

 

 

 

 

his cartoon like pen and ink drawn image on the right is believed to be based loosely on the interior of a packed Parish church at St Breward of the early 1800's and is likely its earliest image, albeit equally likely most probably quite inaccurate architecturally.

 

 It was drawn by the British caricature artist Thomas Rowlandson (1756 -1827) in about 1810. Rowlandson was a  frequent visitor to the St Breward area and often stayed at Hengar manor.

 

 The original drawing is now held in the British Museum and this work was deigned for; A TOUR IN SEARCH OF The Picturesque, BY THE REVEREND DOCTOR SYNTAX.

 

 

 These 'tours,' in the form of various drawings, chronicle the escapades of a fictional 19th-century English clergyman and was a very successful parody of life of the day. It is interesting that Rowlandson was said to have based his drawing of the clergyman in this cartoon on the Reverend Ralph Barron, vicar incumbent in the St Breward Parish Church from 1767 to 1814.

 

Thomas Rowlandson Drawing Church St Breward.

 

 This full colour acquatint by Thomas Rowlandson which was created for the same series based on his sketches of St Breward church , shows a somewhat different St Breward  church interior and proves the point that artistic licence was rife. Though several of the St Breward congregation seem to be sleeping through the sermon!

  

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Rowlandson Pen & Ink Drawing St Breward Church.

 

 

Interior Church St Breward.

Interior St Breward church today.

Above, a similar view to the drawings.

This interior photograph of the

St Breward parish church as it stands today

Photograph © Jackie Freeman Photography - St. Breward – Cornwall

 

 

 

 

 oteworthy  features, found in the church at St Breward.

 

 Just inside the Church of St Breward's main entrance for instance can be found the Royal Coat of Arms of William III, dated 1700, though specifically why it was commissioned or from whom is uncertain. To celebrate a new century would be a clear and probable option.

 Outside, just above the church porch door is an old stone sundial whose sculptor back in 1792, forgot to add the word 'fly' to the first line in his chiseled poetry.
The word's hurried and late addition to the face appearing as it does above the word 'they' in the first line, is probable testament to his desire not to have to correct the error and do it all over again!

 

Stone sundial - St Breward Parish Church.

Stone sundial - St Breward Parish Church

-Photograph © Jackie Freeman Photography - St. Breward – Cornwall   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William III Coat of Arms. St Breward Church.

William III Coat of Arms. St Breward Parish Church

Photograph © Jackie Freeman Photography - St. Breward – Cornwall

 

 

 

12 Dolphin heads carved on church  St Breward.

12 Dolphin heads carved on the St Breward church tower finials echo the symbol of Saint Brelade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cornish Cross St Breward Church.

Cornish cross St Breward church graveyard

Photograph © Jackie Freeman Photography - St. Breward – Cornwall

                             

                                                                              Cornish Cross St breward Church.

                                                                               Ancient Cornish cross - St Breward

 

 

 

 

 

ine memorials abound here within the parish church of St Breward and include several listed tombs, Cornish crosses and other notable features well worth investigating.

Amongst these includes the remains of slate tomb chest of a man called Christian Rogers, dated 1609 with two kneeling figures in relief: (bottom left) Which, although unsigned, if you  reverse the image of the memorial to Lewis Adams, Vicar incumbent of the Church of St Breward (bottom right) looks remarkably like the same stone mason had a hand in its creation.

 

Tomb chest of Christian Rogers.                        Reversed image of the memorial to Lewis Adams

Tomb chest of Christian Rogers                                                                               Reversed image of the memorial to Lewis Adams

-Photograph © Jackie Freeman Photography - St. Breward – Cornwall                                                       Photograph © Jackie Freeman Photography - St. Breward – Cornwall

 

 

 

 

 

 

aint Breward's other mysterious saint

The Reverend  George Martin, a modern day St. Anthony

 


  A true son of St Breward, a man born here in 1864,  the Reverend George Martin as he was to become, never courted fame, choosing instead obscurity and the hermit like solitude of a poor man to end his days under.

 In 1899, he gave up his professional career in the church in Cornwall as a deacon and  rector and moved to Southwark in London where he was seen as an obscure and quietly well spoken individual, wandering the streets as an old bearded man in an  tatty old frock coat. Committing his life to helping the poor and needy, he was widely known as the modern day St Anthony.

 George Martin rented a bleak and somber little room with the most modest of lives necessities about him. It was to be his home for the next 48 years.

 It is quoted; “with a slab of slate as a table, his fare was usually bread and margarine eked out occasionally with a few vegetables.”

But Martin was always there to help the needy in time of need.  Always found money from his poorly paid job as a porter. The quiet stranger, at first mistrusted soon proved that he was only concerned with the welfare of others less fortunate than himself.
To many in the community he was simply known as St George.

At 82 years of age, George Martin died, alone in the solitude of his tiny room.

 To the utter amazement and disbelief of the community, George Martin left an estate valued at well over £40,000 with £1000 in beneficiary to St John's College, Cambridge (where he had obtained his BA and MA as a student himself,)  in order to provide financial support for other Cornish students who were reading for Holy Orders.

To the poor and needy of Southwark, he bequeathed the rest.

Watch NEW FULL LENGTH Video:  I left my Heart in Kernow

 

St Breward Parish Church written by David Freeman for Secret Britain ©2010

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Jackie Freeman Photography.  

GO FORWARD TO PART 3

MOTHER CORNWALL'S LEGACY

Granite - Quarries - Mines and Moors of

St Breward

 

Copyright: 2010 Jackie Freeman Photography St Breward Cornwall . All rights reserved

Unauthorized use of the images illustrated is prohibited and protected under international laws of copyright.

 

 

Watch NEW FULL LENGTH Video:

AWAY HOME

Watch NEW FULL LENGTH Video:

I left my Heart in Kernow

 

 

Images on this page:

Tombstone of Lewis Adams, Vicar incumbent of the Church of

St Breward 1571 to 1607

St Breward  aka  St Brelade

Cornish hedgerow and gate near the Holy well St Breward.

The Parish Church of St Breward

Parish Church of St Breward in Cornwall. North view.

Part of one of the Victorian glass windows of the church of

St Breward

Interior -Parish Church of St Breward:

Interior St Breward church today.

Thomas Rowlandson drawing of the Interior of St Breward church

Thomas Rowlandson acquatint of the Interior of St Breward church

Stone sundial - St Breward Parish Church

William III Coat of Arms. St Breward Parish Church

Dolphin heads carved on the St Breward church tower finials

Cornish cross St Breward church graveyard

Ancient Cornish cross - St Breward

Tomb chest of Christian Rogers 

Reversed image of the memorial to Lewis Adams

 

All original photographs COPYRIGHT Jackie Freeman Photography 2010

All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Images and photographs of St Breward -and St Breward Church in Cornwall are copyrighted under international laws of copyright. Copying of them used without consent is unlawful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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