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Lake’s Parochial History of the County of Cornwall

Vol 1 1864

St Breward


HALS- S. S Breward is situate in the hundred of Trigg, and hath upon the north, Advent; south, Blisland; east, Altar Nun; west, S. Tudy.  There was not such parish or church extant in Cornwall at the time of the Norman conquest as Brewer; probably it was taxed under Tudy.  In the inquisition of the Bishops of Lincoln and Winchester, in order to the Pope’s annats, 1294, Ecclesia de Bruerd, in decanatu de Trigg-minor-shire, was valued at £7, vicar ejusdem 20s.  In Wolsey’s inquisition, 1521, and Valor Beneficiorum, £8; the patronage in the Dean and Chapter of Exeter; the incumbent Downes, the rectory or sheap in ----, and the parish rated to the 4s per pound Land Tax, 1696, by the name of Brewer, £111 12.  The present name of this church is celebrated in memory of its founder, William Brewer, son of William Lord Brewer, Baron of Odcombe, in Somerset, who was consecrated Bishop of Exeter, 1224, and was afterwards, by Henry III, sent on divers embassies to foreign princes, and to conduct Isabel, sister of the said King Henry, to be married to Frederick the Emperor, whom he and Peter de Rupibus, Knight, afterwards accompanied into Palestine, and were made generals of 40,000 men against the Turks.  And after all those fatigues, as Bishop Godwin saith, he returned home safely to his see of Exeter, and spent the remainder of his days in building and endowing churches, adorning and enriching his own cathedral church, and instituting within the same a dean and twenty-four prebendaries, allowing the latter a stipend of  £4 per annum, since augmented to £20, (which is no more than £4 in those days was worth).  He also set up a chanter, chancellor, and treasure within the same.  To the chantor and subdean thereof he appropriated the rectory of Paignton and Chudleigh in Devon, and the rectory then, now a vicarage, of Egloshayle, in Cornwall.  To the chancellor he appropriated (or impropriated) the vicarage of Newlyn in Cornwall and Stoke Gabriel in Devon, on condition that he should preach a sermon once a week.  To the canons a lecture in Divinity, or on the Decretals, within the cathedral of Exeter, and in case the chancellor should fail in this particular, it should be lawful for the Bishop thereof for the time being to resume the said churches so appropriated, into his own hand, and bestow them at his pleasure; as appears from a deed between the said bishop, dean, and chapter, 12th May, 1262, as Hooker saith. But this covenant is exactly kept ever since by the chancellor or his clerk, who once a week, at six of clock morning prayers, preach a sermon to the canons. This bishop Brewer appropriated this church bearing his name to the dean and chapter of his cathedral, which he has as aforesaid erected.  He lies buried in the middle of the choir thereof, with an inscription still legible, which, among others, containeth these words :- Hie jacet Willielmus Brewer, quondam hujus Ecclesize Cathedralis Episcopus; fundator etiam quatuor principalium ejusdem Ecclesiae Dignitatum. By the four principal dignities or dignitaries of the church, I suppose, is meant the dean, chantor, chancellor, and treasure thereof.

The deanery of Exon was founded by William Briwere, Bishop of Exton, 1225.


TONKIN- This parish of S. Breward is also called Simon Ward; and the popular legend has changed a pious and venerable bishop into one Simon Ward, a domestic brewer to King Arthur.  I rather conjecture that on the division of parishes it was called Brewer from “bruyere”, which in the French tongue is “heath”



    St Breward, commonly called Simonward, is situated in the hundred of Trigg and deanery of Trigg Minor.  It is bounded on the north by Advent and St. Clether; on the east by Altarnun; on the south by Blisland and S.Mabyn; and on the west by S. Tudy and Michaelstow.  In a deed of the reign of Henry I., it is named S. Briwerdus de Hamatethe; and there is evidence, that in the sixteenth century, it was simply called Breward.  It may be reasonably supposed that its name was derived from the French word “bruyére,” broom or heath.  The church was dedicated in 1278, but it is doubtful to whom.


    The parish measures 9237A  3.t. 28P., of which 9230 acres are titheable, namely, arable, 2413A. ; garden and orchard, 25A.; woodland, 64A. ; pasture, 3948A. ; common and waste, 2780A.  There are 70 acres of glebe, subject when not in the manurance of the vicar, to a rent charge of £4.  The living is a vicarage in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter; a small portion of the rectorial tithe is attached to it.


    The tithes are commuted at £448, namely, to the vicar £294, and to the Dean and Chapter of Exeter, or their lessee, £154.  Mr Robert Skinner held it on lease, ten or twelve years of which are unexpired, and it is still in the hands of his nephew, Mr. Charles T. Ford. For the tenement of Henon comprising 79A. 1k. 6P. a modus of 2s in lieu of tithes is paid, and for each of the following properties 7s 1 ½ d., namely, Coombe 53A., Coomb mill 14 perches, Jefferies tenement in Penrose 11A., Hengar woods 20A., a field called the Willis, 4A., “of Hengar estate as much as is in the parish,” 80A.


The following list of vicars is preserved:-


    John Fote, vicar of Bruarde, 1536; Lewis Adams, ob: 1607; Nicholas Phillips, instituted October, 21, 1669; William Salmon, September 28, 1677; Nicholas Downe, June 29, 1691; William Blake, July 1, 1723; John Torr, September 30, 1726; Philip Hicks, June 11, 1728; William Kelly, March 19, 1739; Thomas Bennett, September 7, 1742; Ralph Baron, August 5, 1767; Nicholas Gay, February 22, 1814; Thomas Jones Landon, June 16, 1815; George Martin, D.D., the present incumbent, 1851, who immediately on his institution built the present substantial and convenient vicarage house.


    The church, which dates from 1278, had fallen into such a state of decay, that in 1863 its restoration became imperative; and the landowners and parishoners cordially lent every assistance towards so necessary and desirable an object.  Through the unremitting exertions of Dr. Martin, the present vicar, the repair and restoration has been completed in the most satisfactory manner, under the guidance of Mr. St. Aubyn, architect, and at a cost of about £1100.


    The church and tower were new roofed, excepting that the timbers of the south aisle roof, being in a comparatively good state of preservation, were repaired from the best of the other old roofs.  The walls were rebuilt where needful and new plastered.  The seating, floors, and chancel window are entirely new; the roofs of the chancel, nave, and north, or Norman aisle, are of open woodwork, the material throughout being varnished deal.  The windows of the south aisle have been re-glazed with Cathedral glass, and those of the north aisle, being small, two-light, perpendicular ones, with ornamented glass of handsome pattern.  With the old bench ends a tasteful reredos has been formed; the carving, comprising the symbols of the crucifixion, and the arms of Bodmin Priory and the family of Lower, having been painted and gilded.


    The church comprises a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, and north transept and vestry.   The south arcade has five obtuse granite arches, supported on pillars of the same material; the north arcade has five segmental arches supported on circular piers with cushion capitals.  This arcade is purely Norman, and one half of it is constructed of Caen stone; the north aisle is characteristically narrow.  There is a piscine at the east end of the south aisle.  The bowl of the font is of granite and rounded off a square, which has an unfinished appearance; the round shaft and basement are of Catacleuse stone, and of Norman design.  The tower arch is plain and opens into the church.  The tower is of three stages, embattled, with stump crocketted pinnacles.  It has been twice struck by lightning within the last hundred years.  There are five bells, re-cast in 1758 from four old ones said to be of Edward VI. Time.  One of them is inscribed “Fitz-Anthon Pennington cast we five in 1758”. One is broken.


Monuments in the church bear the following inscriptions:-


Lewis Adams departed this lyfe the xxiii day of August, in Ano.Dom.1607. Vicar of Breward xxxiii yeres, and so ended this lyfe. This worke was made at the cost of John Adams his sonne, 1609.

J. Adams.- The Godly lyfe he lyved

Hee to the worlde dyd showe;

But heere remaines his bed

Tyll sounde of Trumpe shall blowe.

Let children learne by this my cost & payne,

Not to let dye their buried father’s fame.


Christopher Rogers, gentleman, who deceased this life the xv day of May, in the yeare of our Lord God one thousand, six hundred, and foure.  This worke was made to the cost of Reginald Rogers, gentleman, 1609


William Billing, of Lanke, gent., was buried the 17th day of February, 1654.


Here lieth the body of Nicholas Borrough, gentleman, who was buried ----Ano.Dom.1654. Psalm exxxi.


Here lyeth the body of Anne, wife of John Billing, of Hengar, esq., the daughter of Francis Trelawny, of Venn, in the county of Devon, esq., who departed this life, the 1st of August, 1687.


Sacred to the memory of the Revd. Ralph Baron, late vicar of this parish, who died January, 1814; aged 72 years. – I know that my Redeemer liveth.


Gilbert Parker, D.D., died March 19, 1795; aged 74

To thy reflexion mortal friend

Th’ advice of Moses I commend;

Be wise and mediate thy end.     Deut. Xxxii,29.


In the churchyard:-


Here lyeth the body of John Borrough, of Penquite, gent., was buried the 21st of July, Anno.Dom.1696.  Beatrice, his wife, was buried the 28th of March, Anno.1696.  John, their son, was buried the 29th of November, 1712.


In memory of Ellen, daughter of George Martin, D.D., vicar of this parish, and Harriet his wife. Born, 25th April, 1853; died, 30th Jany.1856. S.Mark x.14.


There was a chapel on the top of Roughtor, of which there are remains to this day, dedicated to S.Michael, and licensed on the 10th of November, 1535. In 1422, mention is made of a chapel in this parish dedicated to S.James.


    The extensive and very ancient manor of Hamethy, or Hametethy, the Hamotedi of Domesday, is principally in this parish, and includes a considerable portion of the adjacent moors, comprehending Roughtor and Brownwilly, two of the highest hills in the county.  Brownwilly is 1368 feet above the level of the sea; and it is reported that the Ordnance surveyors observed from the top if it, at night, a signal light on the high hill behind Swansea, seventy miles distant.  Roughtor, N.W. of Brownwilly, is 1296 feet above the sea level.  The barton of Boscarne, in the parish of Bodmin, is in the manor of Hametethy.  This manor was held in the reign of Edward II, by John Peverell, and in the 23rd of Edward III, by Hugh Peverell, one of his descendants.  By this family it had been procured of Roger Le Jeu.  On the failure of male issue, this manor passed from the Peverells by two co-heiresses to Basset and Hungerford; and after some time it was in moieties between the Killigrews, and Hastings Earl of Huntingdon, as representative of the Hungerfords, into whose hands the whole must previously have fallen from the Bassets. In succeeding years it passed to the Billings and Lowers.  It afterwards became the property of Samuel Michell, Esq., who bequeathed it to his kinsman Matthew Michell, Esq., from whom it passed to Sir Henry Onslow, bart., who was the grandson of Anne Michell.


    The manor of Penrose-Burden, which extends into this parish, enters also into that of S. tudy, in which Hengar, the manor house is situated.  This manor, in the reign of John, belonged to the Burden family, in which it probably long continued.  Peter Burdun or Burden, 3rd of Jon 1201, gave sixty marks and a palfrey for seisin of Penros.  And in a feodary, 20 Edward III., 1346, Nico De Rindon (evidently a misprint for Burdon) ten. In Penrosburdon di. Feod. Mort.  It was afterwards successively in the families of Coplestone, Speccot, and Billing.  From the Billings it passed with Hametethy to the Michells, and it is now the property of Sir Henry Onslow, who resides in the manor house, in S. Tudy.


    Lank was for a considerable time the property and residence of the family of Billing, now nearly become extinct in this parish.  Higher Lank is the property of William Collins, Esq., of Lostwithiel, who inherits if from his father.


    The little river De Lank, rising in and passing through and by this parish, is a tributary to the Camel.  On its banks, on Lank common, are the granite quarries bearing the same name.

    At Wenford is a terminus of a branch of the Bodmin and Wadebridge railway, from whence granite is conveyed to Wadebridge for shipment.

The principal villages are the Churchtown, Swallock, and Higher and Lower Lank.

Sir Henry Onslow, bart, owns about a moiety of the parish; next to him, J.T. Agar-Robartes, Esq., Capt. Morshead, the Hon. G. M. Fortescue, and W.H. Pole-Carew, Esq. Are the chief landowners.


The greator part of this parish is situated on granite, including within its boundaries Roughtor and Brown Willy.


    The circumstances most attractive of attention is the great sterility of this extensive district; some few contracted spots are indeed brought into cultivation; some parts afford summer pasturage for cattle, and others turf for fuel; but by far the greator portion of the whole lies entirely unproductive.  And this character belongs  to the whole insulated patch of granite more than ten miles in diameter.


    The western extremity of this parish is fertile, resting on a peculiar kind of slate, which possesses geological interest.  It may be seen at Penrose and at other places near the river Camel, and appears to be a variety of mica slate, being composed of granular felspar, interlaminated with mica.  It contains beds of dark purple felspar rock, very similar to that which abounds in the mining district in the western part of the county.  This micaceous slate gradually passes into a thick lamellar rock which extensively disintegrates and becomes argillaceous exactly resembling the stone quarried fro building at Bodmin.


Carta Willielmi Peveral de ecclesia S. BREWERDI.


Sciant tam presentes quam furturi quod ego Willielmas Peverel dedi et concessi Deo et ecclesie Sancti Andree de Tyuuardrait (Tywardreath) et monachis ibidem Deo servientibus ecclesiam Sancti Brewveredi de Hamathethi cum omnibus pertinentiis suis in perpetuam et puram elemosinam pro salute anime mee et patris mei et matris mee et omnium antecessorum meorum.

Hanc autem donacionem ut imperpetuum firma et inconcussa permaneat sigilli mei impressione confirmavi : his testibus, Hugone Bard.  Roberto Cardinan.  Ricardo filio Juonis.  Willielmo, Waltero, Johanne, Stephano, Ricardo filiis Roberti.  Rogero de Dúneham.  Rogero Russel.  Johanne de Glin.  Luca de Melindi : Ricardo filio Gilleberti.  Luca filio Bernardi.  Willielmo Gramatico.  Benedicto Russel. Rogero Keverand.  Ricardo de Pencquit.  Ricardo venatore.  Willielmo fratre ejus.  Osberto capellano ejusdem ecclesie.  Roberto capellano de Tyuuardrait.  Baldwino de Pidias (Prideaux).  Robert de Pidias.Ricardo dapifero.  Walter filio Thome Treviho, et multis aliis.  Preterea sciant universi quod hec eadem carta testator quod Andreas tune temporis prior de Tyuuardrait communi fratrum suorum concilio conessit Willielmo Peverel et heredibus suis ter in ebdomada habere servicium sum in capella sua de Hamathethi a matrice ecclesia, cum predictus Willielmus vel uxor ejus presentes ibi fuerint : his testibus, Hugone Bard.  Willielmo et Roberto fratribus ejus.  Symone de Charvai.  Johanne.  Willielmo, Waltero, filiis Roberti.  Gaufrido de Beveli.  Willielmo de Tikembret.  Radulfo de Reoen.  Odone filio Trewin.  Randulpho filio de Windi.  Willielmo de Lanmiel, et multis aliis.