Welcome to the Church
of St Sampson's, Golant
We are an active congregation with services every Sunday and a quiet, said Evening Prayer at 6pm every Thursday evening. Holy Communion is normally celebrated on the first, second & fourth Sundays at 9.30am; Evensong with hymns is said on the third Sunday of each month at 6pm.
We are blessed with a very talented choir which practises every Thursday evening at 7.15pm in Church and leads our worship on the second & fourth Sundays each month. The choir really comes into its own at special festivals: Advent, Christmas, Easter & St Sampson's Day (nearest Sunday to July 28th). (Musical Director: Sheila Funnell)
In addition we have a small ring of 5 bells which are rung before the morning services (ie 3 times a month). Our enthusiastic band of ringers practises each Monday evening at 6.30pm. Touring teams of ringers often visit the church during the summer months. (Captain of the Bells: Ruth Varco).
Newcomers or visitors to both choir and bell ringers are very welcome!
The organ is a surprisingly fine instrument for the size of church! It is a hybrid built some twenty years ago by the Cornish organ builder, Lance Foy. Most of the pipework was made by Heard's of Truro (Victorian) & was removed from St Michael's Church at Newquay when a new organ was installed there in the 1950s; one wooden pedal rank was salvaged from the 'new' organ at St Michael's when that church was set alight by vandals in 1993; the trumpet pipework is new. We are fortunate to have three organists!
The Rector is The Revd Philip de Grey-Warter who is also the Vicar of Fowey (The Church of St Fimbarrus). The Curate is The Revd Nick Widdows. They can be contacted at:
The Churchwardens of St Sampson's are:
Carol White: bellscat@btinternet
Robert Dunley: firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR CURRENT DATES & TIMES OF SERVICES PLEASE LOOK AT THE PARISH DIARY(LAST PAGE) OFTHE GOLANT PILL. CHURCH NEWS WILL BE FOUND ON ANOTHER PAGE IN THAT NEWSLETTER.
The church is open every day of the year. Times vary due to the differing habits of the team of keyholders!!
Many people from all over the world visit the church throughout the year. Some arrive to see the church which was an important element in the story of Tristan & Iseult. Many parts of that story took place in the immediate countryside around the church.
A large number of visitors arrive having read that "Golant's interior is warm and welcoming" in England's Thousand Best Churches by Simon Jenkins. In this publication the church received one star & suggested that the north ceiling should be reinstated. That happened as part of a major restoration at about the time the book was published. Would the church now receive two stars from Simon Jenkins?!
Others arrive as part of investigations into family connections with Golant. There is a framed Map of the Graveyard and Alphabetical & Numerical lists of burials to help them with their inquiries.
Visitors are often to be seen browsing the albums on display: two, with many photographs & extensive texts, cover the flora & fauna in the churchyard in 2000. This includes the discovery of a rare plant, the double meadow saxifrage. Another album is comprised of close up photographs of every wooden boss (most date from 1509) on the north ceiling when it was reinstated.
Unique items are on sale inside the building including: booklets about Tristan & Iseult,Historical Guides to the church, A Village Guide, a range of locally made pottery, cards featuring flowers & plants found in the churchyard, various postcards & tea towels.
Philip de Grey-Warter
Vicar of Fowey & Golant
The Vicarage, Fowey
Cornwall PL23 1BU
01726 83 35 35
The Church in late autumn viewed from the South
Cornwall has more saints than any other county! Saint Sampson is the only one whose life was recorded in some detail (Vita Saint Sampson c610-615AD). Many of the Cornish saints and others who travelled to Brittany and beyond landed from Ireland but mainly from Wales somewhere on the north coast of Cornwall and walked the " Saints Way" from north to south often stopping on the way to attempt to convert the heathen to Christianity. (The Saints Way from Padstow to Fowey via Golant is a popular route for walkers today who frequently make reference to their journey in the visitors book in the Church). St Sampson stayed sometimes in Golant and legends about him are depicted in some stained glass in the Church. He later travelled to Brittany ( see picture below taken from window by organ ) and eventually became Archbishop of Dol and the chief of the Seven Saints of that province.
Water flows continually into his Holy Well near the entrance porch which is sheltered by a rude arch of stonework, apparently of great antiquity; the water drawn from the well is still used today for baptisms.
The church has a star rating in Simon Jenkins book 'Englands Thousand Best Churches' which he describes as 'warm and welcoming'. Both the nave and south aisle have beautiful wagon roofs and are divided by clustered arcading. (since the book was published the plaster ceiling in the nave has been reinstated). Three granite arches in the nave are thought to be the remains of the original oratory. The pulpit, reading desk, bishops chair and a screen are superb examples of early 16th century carving depicting Saints and coats of arms of local families. A restoration and some rebuilding took place in 1842 at a cost of £534 when the screen which formed the chapel and the chancel at the east end was removed. The organ was installed about 10 years ago in 1992 and is a hybrid using some of the pipes from the two organs which were originally in St Michaels Church, Newquay during the 20th century. On the north wall is a huge coat of arms of James II in recognition of the Royalist sympathies which existed in this part of the county. The building is faced with granite and the battlement two stage tower is of the same material.
The stained glass is relatively modern except for two small portraits in medieval glass(St Sampson and St Anthony) in the north wall by the nave altar. Sir John Betjeman judged the pews in the nave to be the most uncomfortable in Cornwall!
Some of the real life drama of the love triangle of King Mark, Princess Isult(Isolde) to whom he was betrothed and his nephew, Tristan, was played out in the area and it is recorded that Isult attended the church and gave her wedding dress to be made into a priest's chasuble.
The South Aisle East Window
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