At the point where Hayle Terrace merges with Penpol Terrace and almost opposite the swing bridge leading to North Quay stands an impressive building. St Elwyn’s Church was the last building to be created by John B Sedding, the designer of the Brompton Oratory. It was completed in 1888 and is a good example of late Victorian Gothic Revival style. The roofs are dry laid with Delabole slate terminating with a wrought iron finial carrying a vane. Inside are some lovely stained-glass windows.
View of the church from the North quay
Its full name is the Parish Church of St Elwyn the Martyr. So naturally I had to do some research to find out who that was. Elwen (also known as Elvan, Elven, etc.) was the name of an early saint or saints venerated in Cornwall and Brittany. He possibly came to Cornwall from Ireland during the 5th century as one of Saint Breage’s seven Irish companions who joined her on her mission to Cornwall, the others being Sithney, Germoe, Mavuanus (perhaps Mawnan), Crowan, Helena, and Tecla. It seems that a lot of these saints arrived in Cornwall from Ireland!
It is a most impressive building and dominates this part of Hayle. The general style is Early English Gothic, but the large west window is of the Decorated Gothic style, as is the upper portion of the tower. The church has served the people of the Foundry area of Hayle, close to the harbour and the beach, since 1870 though the present Grade II* listed church was built between 1884 and 1888.
One day I will go and have a look inside to see the projecting balcony of the musicians’ gallery and the carved altar, choir-stalls and nave seats and the stained-glass windows.