St German's Priory
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|Church of St Germanus, St Germans|
St German's priory church, St Germans
|Location||St Germans, Cornwall|
|District||Archdeaconry of Bodmin
Diocese of Truro
|Ecclesiastical or organizational status||Parish church|
|Architectural style||Norman and Gothic|
|Materials||Stone and rubble|
According to a credible tradition the church here was founded by St Germanus himself ca. 430 AD. The first written record however is of Conan being made Bishop in the Church of St German's as a result of King Athelstan's settlement with Cornwall. The fixing of the see here shows that the Celtic monastery was already of great importance. Possession of two holdings of land in the parishes of Landrake ("Landerhtun") and Landulph ("Tinieltun" i.e. Tinnel) was confirmed by King Canute in 1018; they had been granted by King Edmund. Both holdings remained in the monastery's possession until 1538. In 1042 the see was moved to Crediton and the lands of the monastery were divided into two parts, one for the monastery and one (named Cuddenbeak) for the Bishop of Crediton. After the Norman Conquest a college of secular canons was established which is said to have been reconstituted in the time of Bishop Bartholomew (1161–1184) as a college of regular canons.
The present church replaces an Anglo-Saxon building which was the cathedral of the Bishops of Cornwall. The church is dedicated to St Germanus and soon after construction it became the cathedral for Cornwall in 926 AD, when King Athelstan appointed Conan as the bishop of Cornwall. The bishopric was to be short-lived, however, as it was transferred to Crediton in 1042 AD. A monastery grew alongside the church, and was reorganized by the Bishop of Exeter between 1161 and 1184 as an Augustinian priory. The priory church was rebuilt on a grand scale, with two western towers and a nave of 102 ft.
At the Dissolution of the Monasteries under King Henry VIII the priory was abolished and its buildings became a private house, home to the Eliot family, in whose hands the house remains. A number of the Eliot family are interred in the church.
St Germans parish was once the largest in Cornwall.
At Dupath Well the wellhouse is said to have been built in 1510 by the monks of St Germans.
- List of cathedrals in the United Kingdom
- List of English abbeys, priories and friaries serving as parish churches
- He was nominated bishop in 926 and consecrated not later than 930.
- Cornish Church Guide (1925) Truro: Blackford; pp. 98-99
- Sedding, Edmund H. (1909) Norman Architecture in Cornwall: a handbook to old ecclesiastical architecture. London: Ward & Co.; pp. 135-152
- Henderson, Charles (1929) Records of the Church and Priory of St. Germans in Cornwall. Shipston-on-Stour: “King’s Stone” Press
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