Forrabury and Minster parish churches

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Coordinates: 50°40′59″N 4°40′34″W / 50.683°N 4.676°W / 50.683; -4.676

St Materiana's Church, Minster / St Symphorian's Church, Forrabury
The Martyrdom of Saint Symphorian, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres; the parish is dedicated to St Symphorian
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Broad Church
Dedication Saint Materiana / Saint Symphorian
Parish Forrabury and Minster
Deanery Trigg Minor
Archdeaconry Bodmin
Diocese Truro
Province Canterbury
Rector Rector of Boscastle group of churches

The parishes to which the Forrabury and Minster parish churches belong were united in 1779 to form Forrabury and Minster ecclesiastical parish, within Cornwall, England, UK. The main settlement in the parish is Boscastle.

The original Forrabury / Minster boundary crossed the river so the harbour end of the village was in Forrabury and the upriver area in Minster. The churches were established some time earlier than the settlement at Boscastle (in Norman times when a castle was built there).

Minster Church[edit]

Minster Parish Church

The mother church of Boscastle is dedicated to St Materiana and nestles among the trees of Minster Wood in the valley of the River Valency half-a-mile east of Boscastle at grid reference SX 110 904. Minster Church was built in Norman times (some late medieval additions and restoration work carried out in the 19th century): it is listed Grade I.[1]

The Celtic name of Minster was Talkarn but it was renamed Minster in Anglo-Saxon times because of a monastery on the site. Until the Reformation St Materiana's tomb was preserved in the church. (Another spelling of her name sometimes used is 'Mertheriana' but the usual Latin form is Materiana.)[2] For many years the Anglican parishes of Forrabury and Minster have been in the charge of a Rector who is responsible for a group of adjoining parishes as well as these.

Minster Church was damaged by the flood of August 2004 and in the following year archaeological work was done at the church to obtain a clearer idea of the history of the building.[3]

Minister Church is also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, for its population of greater horseshoe bats, a rare and threatened species in the European and British Red Data Books. The church supports the largest known greater horseshoe bat maternity roost in Cornwall, one of the largest in the UK.[4]

Forrabury Church[edit]

Forrabury Parish Church

Forrabury church also has some Norman work but the tower was added in 1750; it is listed Grade II*. The Rev R. S. Hawker wrote a poem on "The Bells of Forrabury": it was based on a local legend arising from the absence of a peal of bells in the tower.

Waterpit Down[edit]

At Waterpit Down (in Minster parish on the road towards Launceston) are the remains of a cross probably from the 10th century.[5]


  1. ^ "Minster Church". Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  2. ^ Canner, A. C. (1982) The Parish of Tintagel. Camelford: A. C. Canner, pp. 5-6
  3. ^ Allan, John (2008) "After the Flood: building recording at Minster Church, Boscastle, in 2005", in: Cornish Archaeology; 43-44 (2004-05), pp. 145-158
  4. ^ "Minister Church". Natural England. 1998. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  5. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1970) [1951]. Cornwall (2nd; rev. by Enid Radcliffe ed.). Penguin Books. pp. 69 & 120. ISBN 0-14-071001-9.