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The History of Cornwall, Vol II

Hitchins and Drew, MDCCCXXIV

St Minver, Pages 493 to 496

This copy kept in Wadebridge Library

The parish of St Minver is indebted for its name, to one of the large sainted family that came higher from Wales at an early period, when Christianity was first introduced into Cornwall. "Menfre or Menfrede appears to have been a daughter, and to have taken up her abode in a district adjoining Endellion, which was occupied by her sister. In the first valor directly before St. Endellion, we see Ecclesia Sanctae Minviredae noted; in the last valor we see it noted with a nearer conformity to the first appellation. Mynfray alias Mynforde alias St. Miniver; as in a calendar belonging once to the monastic church of Bodmin, we find the day of Sancta Manefreda, virgin not martyr, on the 24th of November.

The situation of this parish is in the deanery of Trigg-minor, and in the hundred of Trigg. It is about ten miles from Bodmin; and about four from Wadebridge verging towards the harbour of Padstow. Exclusively of the church town it has four villages; namely, Penmean, Trebethrick, Tredrisic, and Trevanger; but these have nothing remarkable to demand any particular notice. Norden mentions another village in this parish, which he calls Porthillie; and says, that "it was daily increasing in population." Its situation was near a chapel called Porthilly church, to which the villagers resorted. Hence Norden adds, that if they "contynued paynful and religious, it would grow to a prety town." But since Nordenís time, the drifting of the sands has depopulated this thriving village, and driven the inhabitants to seek a new abode.

In a part of the parish called the Low-lands, to distinguish it from that on which the church stands, and which is denominated the High-lands, are two chapels of ease dedicated to St. Michael, and St. Enodoc; which in some ancient records is called St. Gwinnodock. These chapels are not deemed parochial, each having its own churchwarden, and an overseer of the poor, who superintends both. It has been said, that there was formerly a village called St. Enodoc, which has for ages been buried in the accumulating sands. The church or chapel would also long since have shared the fate of the village, if it had not been rescued by the piety of the successive incumbents, who cannot enjoy the endowments attached to it, unless divine service be performed in it once at least every year. To effect this pious service, the roof of the chapel is kept clear of the sands which every where surround it. Through this roof an entrance is made into the body of the building, to which is added a skylight for the convenience of the minister on this singular occasion. The church of St. Minver, from the immediate vicinity of which every habitation has been removed, unless the cottages have been buried in the sands, seems threatened with a similar sandy inundation; and the period may arrive when an effort of zeal may be necessary to preserve its emoluments, similar to that which now distinguishes the minister of St. Enodoc. The chapel of St. Michael, which is probably that which Norden calls Porthilly, stands on the borders of the river leading to Padstow. There was also a chapel at Trevelver, of which there are still some remains; there was another at Roserrow; another at Trewornon; and another with a spacious cemetery on the manor of Penmean.

There is still standing in this parish a meeting house with a burying ground attached to it, that was occupied by the Quakers, who were formerly numerous here; but through those vicissitudes which accompany time, the professors of this mode of Christian worship have disappeared, or nearly so; in consequence of which, the house and its appendages have been long disused. About the commencement of the last century, a narrative was published of the life and sufferings of John Peters, a Quaker, who was formerly steward to the Carew family at Roserrow. This man was interred in their burying ground at St. Minver. The Methodists have at present a meeting house in this parish.

Some time in the year 1778, through a violent storm, the sands which had been accumulating for several ages underwent a sudden transition. On their shifting from their original bed, many coffins formed of slate-stone were discovered, which contained human bones in large quantities. Several coins, some rings, and various ornaments of dress were also found at the same time. These were attentively examined; and, with the exception of some of the bones, carefully preserved by the Rev. William Sandys the late vicar. The coins and ornaments appeared to fill up several of the intermediate years between 1101, and 1558; or from the reign of Henry I. to Elizabeth. There can be very little doubt but that many such memorials of antiquity, are still buried in the sands on the northern shores of our county.

The manor of Penmean, in which stood the ancient chapel, and its spacious burying ground, has from time immemorial belonged to the duchy. By Edward the Black Prince, it was given to Sir William Woodland, usher of his chamber; but on his death, as he left issue, it again returned to the duchy. The freewarren of this manor was held on lease by the late vicar, the Rev. William Sandys, who died in November, 1816. This gentleman who was patron of the vicarage, was also improprietor of the great tithes, which he purchased of the Prideaux family of Netherton, in Devonshire, in 1783. St. Minver is separated from Padstow by a ferry, which is held on lease under the duchy, as parcel of the manor of Penmean. This ferry is now the property of Mr. Joseph Peter, merchant of that place, about seventy years since. It pays to the church, to the poor, and to the highways; but has no particular privileges connected with it.

The barton of Trevelver, on which the family of Stone had a seal in the year 1573, and who were succeeded by that of Silly in 1636, and afterwards by that of the Arundells, is the property of Mrs Yeo of Clifton, who descended from the last mentioned family; but the ancient house is now occupied by a farmer. The Rev. Humphrey Julian, is at present the proprietor of Trevigo, which Norden describes as the lands of Sir Michael Stanhope, but on which the Stones had a seat held on lease during the time in which he wrote. In the reign Of James I. Trevernon, now called Trewornon, belonged to Thomas Clifford, D. D. after which it became the seat of the Rowes. By an heiress of this latter family, it was carried in marriage to the Darells. It is now the property and the residence of the Rev. Darell Stephens, younger brother of the late Edward Trelawny, the representative of the Trelawnys and Darells. The barton of Cant, on which nothing but a farm house at present remains, was formerly the residence of the ancient family of De Cant, and, at a latter period, of the Lydnams. This barton has long since been divided into two parts, and called, east and west. East Cant, which became the property of Robartes, now belongs to the Rev. Charles Prideaux Brune of Place, at Padstow; and west Cant was purchased some years since, by the late Rev. William Sandys of a distant relation (residing in Ireland) of the late Mr. Lydnam. Roserrow, which Norden calls Tresoro, was a seat of the Penkevils; it was also a seat of the Carews of Haccombe, in Devonshire. This is at present a farm house, the property of Sir William Lemon, by purchase from the Rashleigh family.

At the place where Trewornan bridge now stands, was a dangerous ford, which was impassable at high tides, and inconvenient at others. To remedy this defect, the above bridge was erected in 1791, by the exertions of the late Rev. William Sandys; the beneficial effect of which have ever since been experienced. This is now a county bridge,í and connects the road leading from St. Minver to Egloshayle. It lies across a rivulet, which at high water is rendered navigable for boats and barges, as high as Amble bridge in the parish of St Kew.

In St. Minver church, which stands in that part of the parish called the Highlands, as already stated, are monuments of the families of Opie, Rowe, Darell, Silly, and Stone. There is also a monument for the wife of the late vicar, daughter of Mackworth Prade, Esq. The church also contains a handsome window of painted glass, that was put up in 1810, by the late Rev. William Sandys. The only charitable donation in this parish, is a sum of ten shillings per annum left by John Randall, Esq. to be paid for a thousand years to the minister for preaching a funeral sermon on St. Johnís day, December 27th; and twenty shillings per annum for the same period, to be distributed among the poor widows and fatherless children of the parish. (click here for picture)

Dr. Borlase mentions, on the authority of Dr. Woodward, some Speltre having been formerly found in this parish. He also notices that in his day, some Antimony was raised on an estate belonging to the Rev. Mr. Hearle. But of late years little has been done towards the raising of these metallic substances.

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