Welcome to St Mylor churchyard. This was an ancient “Lan” or enclosure around a sacred place, and as such it may well go back to pre-Christian times and have been used for burials from time immemorial. We list some of the most interesting graves and features here, and their positions are marked on the plan of the churchyard.
As you leave the Church by the south door, in the porch you will find the old parish stocks, which were used for punishment by humiliation for misdemeanours. Adjacent to the church porch stands:
- THE OLD CORNISH CROSS
This medieval wheel headed cross was discovered during the restoration of the church in 1870. It had been turned upside down and used as a flying buttress to support the collapsing south wall of the church. Once excavated it was found to be 17 ft 6in (5.3 metres) in length. From its markings, it may well be that it had pagan origins, later being ‘Christianised’. It is now a designated monument and recorded by Historic England as the tallest cross in Cornwall, although 2.1 metres of its length is buried.
Leaving the church porch behind you take the grassy path straight ahead.
- To your left is a MONKEY PUZZLE TREE (Araucaria araucana)
The tree was grown from seed collected by William Lobb on his travels in Chile in 1842. As young men William and his brother Thomas worked on the Carclew estate, where their father was gardener. Later in life they were both employed by Veitch Nurseries which sent them travelling the world to find and bring back many species of plants new to this country. William brought back over 100 plants suitable for Cornish gardens. Thomas is buried in Devoran, but William died in San Francisco.
Follow the grassy path which rises gradually and turns to the right into the oldest part of the cemetery. The path leads to a gate in the wall between the churchyard and The Old Vicarage next door (now a private residence).
You will see a tall memorial standing to the left of the gate.
- REVEREND EDWARD HOBLYN AND HIS FAMILY
The Rev Edward Hoblyn was vicar of St Mylor from 1823 until his death in 1868. On coming to his new position with a wife and ten children, the vicarage was found to be too small to accommodate them all, so the existing building, which had fallen into disrepair, was pulled down and a replacement (the current building) built further away from the church on higher ground. Subsequently the family increased further in size when two more children were born. During renovation of The Old Vicarage pencil marks were found on the frame of a door which recorded the heights of the children as they grew up.
On the face of the memorial beside the gate are recorded Reverend Edward Hoblyn and his wife Mary.
On the front of the memorial, facing the church, there are two marble plaques. Although the engraving is difficult to read, the names of six daughters (none of whom married) are recorded on them.
Eliza Juliana (1815-1844) Charlotte Emilia (1818-1845)
Mary Isabella (1810-1893) Ellen Sophia (1823-1847)
Anna Margaret (1811-1898) Emma Caroline (1821-1898)
On the plinth below the panels are mentioned Charles Robert (1813-1856) who joined the Navy and then became a schoolmaster in Torpoint, and Maria Theresa, the youngest and the last of the siblings to die in 1912 aged 87.
Opposite this memorial is the grave of a son, Thomas Hoblyn, who was born in 1820 and died in 1905, and his wife Caroline.
Three sons who moved away from the area are not included on the memorials, Edward Lee (1809-1897) who joined the Navy, Thomas’s twin William and Francis (born 1817) who both became doctors (in London and Bath respectively).
Turn so that the wall is on your right and walk a few metres to find to find a pair of graves with flat tombstones to your left. One has a sign beside it.
- THOMAS PETER
This is the oldest known grave in the Churchyard. Thomas was vicar of St Mylor from 1628 until his death in 1654. In his will he gave instructions that “my body to be interred against my study window near the pathway to the dial.” The study to which he referred was in the original vicarage, pulled down in 1823. The dial is the sundial now on the Howard Spring memorial.
Turn back towards the Church’s detached Bell Tower. Two of the bells in this tower are dated 1637 and 1664 whilst the third is medieval. There is also one small bell dated 1767 in the tower of the church.
Continue past the Bell Tower and step down onto the tarmac path. To your left is:
- THE LYCHGATE
This was a gift from the parish of Mylor and Flushing in 1928 to commemorate the life and work of Lady Mary Trefusis, who in 1895 became a woman of the bedchamber to the Duchess of York (later to become Queen Mary). In addition to her royal duties, she was a great benefactor to both Cornwall and Mylor, inaugurating the Cornwall Music Festival and reviving folk dance competitions. She is also remembered for her work with village choirs.
The low wall along the centre of the lychgate was used to rest coffins when they had been carried up over the hill from the village. To either side of this wall was a stone cattle grid (now filled in) to keep livestock from roaming into the churchyard.
Follow the path down from the lychgate and turn left at the bottom of the metal handrail where there is a sign towards the Ganges Memorial.
- THE GANGES MEMORIAL
This was erected by the boys of the Naval Training Ship of that name in 1872. The names of 51 boys are recorded here, with an average age of 16, they died of disease or accident, a sad reminder of the harshness of life under naval training in Victorian times. Established in 1865, HMS Ganges left Mylor in 1899, and following a refit was based at Harwich, then Southampton. Members of the Ganges association make an annual pilgrimage to St Mylor Church on Remembrance Day when wreaths are laid at the memorial.
Follow the path below the memorial as it turns down the hill to the right beside the road, and then turns again to the right to run between graves on both sides.
- WINNIE BARNICOAT (on your left opposite a yew tree to the right of the path)
This unusual gravestone is for an eight year old girl who died in 1908 from injuries sustained from having fallen while playing piggy-back with a friend. Her father was working in America at the time, and unable to attend her funeral, but he brought this memorial back with him when he was able to return.
- HOWARD SPRING (on right)
Howard Spring was a local author and his memorial takes the form of a sundial, which had originally been sited at the top of the churchyard. He lived the latter part of his life at a house nearby called Hoopers Hill, and one of his later books, ‘All the day long’, published in 1959, is centred round a house named St Tudno, which was at that time the rectory, now a private house “The Old Vicarage”.
- ANGELS CORNER (on right)
Completed at the end of 2010, Angels Corner is a special place in our churchyard intended for those who have lost a child to sit quietly with their memories. The stone bench and slate base were given in memory of Olivia Cowling by her parents. Olivia died of motor neurone disease in December 2006 aged 23.
Turn and follow a grassy path which joins from the left. This leads down to the ‘bothy’, a small building now known as the Trinnick building. The noticeboard on the side of this building gives information on notable people whose graves are marked around the churchyard as interesting memorials.
- THE HOLY WELL This lies beside the bothy.
This spring of water was possibly the site of baptism for the earliest Christians here. Water from the well has also been used for baptism services in the church.
Retrace your steps back to the path that you were following and just after rejoining it you will find on your left:
- P WALTER HUGHES, M.D.
One of the more elaborate memorials is that to Dr P Walter Hughes, who died in 1906. It is in the form of a cross interwoven with an anchor and chain.
Continue towards the church and turn left onto the asphalt path and follow it around the church, as another path joins it there is a memorial on the grass to your right.
- THOMAS JAMES
Shot aged 35 in December 1814 by a customs officer, while on his way back in a boat from St Mawes to his home in Flushing. He may have been innocently fishing, but….smuggling was almost a common pastime in Cornwall then. The inscription reads:
‘Officious zeal in luckless hour laid wait
And wilful sent the murderous ball of fate.
James to his home (which late in health he left)
Wounded returns – of life is soon bereft.’
Turn to follow the path around the church, beneath a variegated holly tree to your right stands a headstone.
- JOSEPH CRAPP
A shipwright who died in 1770, aged 43 years, as the result of an accident, the inscription (now difficult to read) says:
‘Alas! Poor Joseph. His end was almost sudden.
As though the mandate came express from Heaven.
His foot did slip and he did fall.
“Help. Help.” He cries and that was all.’
On the opposite side of the ashphalt path from this memorial is a grassy path which leads to:
- THE WARRIORS
This memorial recalls the wreck of the Queen Transport on the morning of 14th January 1894. It was bringing troops and their families home from the Peninsular War. The day before, the ship dropped anchor off Trefusis point, just south of Mylor harbour. That night there was a great storm and the ship slipped her anchor. Of the 330 on board, 195 perished, survivors owing their lives to the local folk who risked their own lives to save them.
Rejoin the path around the church, beneath a large yew tree (the oldest tree in the churchyard) to the left of the path.
- WILLIAM TRURO
This is the grave of William Truro who was innkeeper at the Seven Stars pub in Flushing in the early nineteenth century.
William’s father Peter, a man of colour, was brought to the UK (possibly from Bengal) as a child and adopted into a Cornish family. He appears to have been given his surname from the place of adoption as he was christened in Truro.
William married twice, his first wife died in childbirth leaving a daughter Lavinia, and he then remarried a Truro girl Mary Hendra, and they had a large family together. Mary succeeded him as innkeeper of the Seven Stars when he died in 1836.
An interesting codicil to William Truro’s will reads:
‘If any of my children when come old enough to work and tho will not work to assist their mother but will stay at home to abuse their mother and family then my wife with trustees is to get them put in the poorhouse and to pay the same per head to the parish as the cost in the house cost the parish till they are 21 years old.
February 19th 1836.’
Continuing along the path you will return to the south door of the church
We hope that you have enjoyed exploring our churchyard.