Hayle: St Elwyn’s Church

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 ElvanElven, 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.


  1. restlessjo says:

    You’ve not been inside? With all your rainy days? Though I suppose the light would be bad for stained glass. 😦 I like the turrets and the overall shape is interesting. I like the shot from the other side, where it looks in isolation. And what very convenient birds 🙂 🙂 And that must be a cleaning detachment in the harbour?

    1. Heyjude says:

      It is very hard not to miss, but I don’t often walk past it. The geese photo was from November last year and the crowd was students who were taking water samples I think 🤔 they had been on the beach first so probably on some environmental course.

  2. Cathy says:

    You wouldn’t think from the photos that they were taken in February! And that last shot with the birds is wonderful – shame that group in the middle spoiled the formation!

    1. Heyjude says:

      The photos have been taken at various times during the year, the first one with the river was last month and the last one with the geese last November. Those Brent geese don’t fly in nice V formations, they are rather straggly 😮

      1. Cathy says:

        The rebels!!

  3. Sue says:

    Interesting old church

    1. Heyjude says:

      It is supposed to be interesting inside too.

      1. Sue says:

        So you will venture inside?

        1. Heyjude says:

          If I am passing on foot, which isn’t often and it is open. I need to figure out the best time for the sun to hit those windows.

        2. Sue says:

          Good point…

  4. beetleypete says:

    I am not a great fan of Victorian Gothic, but I agree that the church certainly dominates the small town.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Heyjude says:

      Not my favourite style either.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Until I read your explanation that the kids were taking a water sample, I imagined they were eeling.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Yuk! I hate eels…

  6. Su Leslie says:

    Your first and last shots really give a sense of its scale. It’s not my favourite architectural style either, but I do think that if the aim is to create a sense of spirituality, grand buildings are better than the anonymous barns that serve as modern churches here.

  7. Magnificent church – I look forward to seeing inside (virtually).

  8. bushboy says:

    I look forward to going inside too Jude 🙂

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