St Just in Roseland, Cornwall

St Just in Roseland church

St Just in Roseland church

One of the ornate stained glass windows

One of the ornate stained glass windows

 

I’ve just got back from a few days away in Cornwall with my geokids. Reason for going – the eldest was missing her boyfriend! Reason for taking her to Cornwall to see her boyfriend – So I could geocache in a new place! And I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful places we encountered.

Here is just one of them, St Just in Roseland Church. Roseland has nothing to do with roses, it apparently comes from the Cornish word ros or roos, meaning promontory. Which is exactly what the Roseland Peninsula is. It is a little jutted out piece of land surrounded by sea, rivers and streams and spans approximately 10 miles by 10 miles (don’t quote me on that!).

Beautiful Celtic cross overlooking the bay

Beautiful Celtic cross overlooking the bay

I was bought here by a geocache (“of course!” I can hear you all cry), why else would I be here! However, we got terribly sidetracked from the hunt for Roseland #3 – “Captain Jack’s nuptials” when we spotted the intriguiing and beguiling cemetary beside the road. The huge, tall palm trees and exotic looking flowers were all it took for us to enter the grounds and discover a new world within.

Look at the size of this single leaf

Look at the size of this single leaf

As we looked around it was clear to see that St Just Church was part of the Celtic church and well established long before the arrival of St Augustine in England. It is said that there has been a church here as early as A.D 550, but the present church was consecrated in August 1261. About half the church is from that era, with the tower, south chancel and pillars dating from the 15th Century.

One of the many walkway plaques

One of the many walkway plaques

All along the main walkway down to the church itself and the bay, were stone (granite, I think) plaques with a variety of biblical scriptures on them. All beautiful and relevant to the surroundings, which added to the calming atmosphere within the boundaries. I was in awe of the tombstones, all laid out with precision in a kind of stepping layer cut into the hillside. Some were plain and some were intricately decorated. The earliest that we found was dated 1755, but I am sure that if you were to head deeper into the tree growth there would be some earlier than that.

An ornate headstone

An ornate headstone

Following the footpath round the outside of the church and alongside the bay, we came across a sign, pointing us towards a “holy well”. We had to investigate: the path towards it was serene and beautiful. The tide was out, so I imagine it looks more peaceful when the bay is filled. I bought a guide book from the porch of the church in the hopes it would have some information about the well. Having read it, there is nothing! I have heard a rumour that there was a man with a “gammy” leg who went to the well and bathed in it. After the bathing the problems with his leg were miraculously healed.

The Holy Well

The Holy Well

After seeing the well we decided that we should now find the geocache. We had been in the church gardens for about an hour. We took one of the many paths through the jungle of palm tress and tropical looking plants and came across a more modern part of the cemetary. With a stone bordered stream that led to a heart shaped pool. My only thought at this point was that I would like my final resting place to be somewhere like St Just in Roseland church.

Heart shaped pool

Heart shaped pool

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Categories: Geo Stories, Life goes on, UK History | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “St Just in Roseland, Cornwall

  1. I love walking through really old cemeteries.

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