St. Andrew’s Church, Redruth
This pamphlet offers a brief summary of the history and features of
St. Andrew’s Church, Redruth, as a building. It cannot capture every
feature of the building, or the spirit and diversity of the people –
clerical and lay- who have made this a vibrant and treasured
Christian community serving God and our Cornish hometown, but it
may remind us of the church’s past as we benefit from its present
and build for its future.
St. Andrew’s in the 1930s. What’s missing?
St. Andrew’s Church was consecrated on 26 November 1884.
Its foundation stone had been laid the year before, after a campaign
to build a new place of worship, led by Revd. James William Lane,
Rector of Redruth 1878- 1910. The church was founded, as a
circular of 1880 put it, “for those who go ‘nowhere in particular’, and
for those who go ‘nowhere at all’ “. The majority of Redruth’s
population lived some distance away from the existing parish
church of St. Euny, which had been consecrated centuries before
mining transformed the fortune, size, and shape of the town.
At a public meeting in the Lamb and Flag tavern in 1880, the
Bishop of Truro, E.W. Benson, announced that Lord Clinton had
donated suitable land for a new church and a Building Committee
set to work. The donated land was once the site of Treruffe (or
Treve) Manor and was surrounded by, then new, streets named
after the some of the families whose fortunes had been increased
by local industry, including Clinton and Basset. These families’
donations helped to build the new church but fundraising efforts by
devoted church supporters raised funds from many more
parishioners both rich and poor.
The church, named for St Andrew, considered to be the first
missionary because he brought his brother to Jesus, was to be a
place of worship but also of fellowship for all ages. The original plan
included not only the Gothic-revival church but also a crypt for
Sunday School, adult Bible classes, and other meetings and
events. Practical touches included a ‘large boiler for soup in winter’.
The original altar before the church was extended.
The 1884 church was the Western part of St. Andrew’s today,
nearest to Clinton Road, ending before the present Sanctuary.
Fundraising continued to complete and enhance the church, still
encouraged by E. W. Benson, now Archbishop of Canterbury.
Efforts included an intriguing three-day ‘Alpine Village Bazaar’ in the
Druid’s Hall with luncheons, teas, and music, opened by General Sir
Redvers Buller and Lord Robartes. Fundraising continued as the
century drew to a close but competing demands on the people of
Redruth proved challenging: Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee was
to be celebrated, the congregation were encouraged to support the
completion of Truro Cathedral, and a memorial for Archbishop
Benson who had died in 1896. Then the First World War and
economic and social upheavals of the 1920s and 1930s took their
toll. In wartime- and peacetime- hardship the church continued to
support its parishioners but new building had to wait.
In 1932 a ‘Way of Renewal’ weekend launched a Redruth
Parochial Mission, which combined evangelising and promoting the
Building Fund. Finally, in April 1937 the foundation stone of the
Eastern portion of the church was laid by Commander Sir Edward
Nicholl, one-time parish choir boy and a principal donor. The
completed church, substantially the one we see today, was
consecrated by Dr J. W. Hunkin, Bishop of Truro, on 22 September
It is easy to see, outside and in, where the original, Gothicrevival
church ended and the newer, simplified Eastern section
begins. Although they blend well, each section has distinctive
features. The older part, designed by James Hicks, of Redruth, and
John Seddon, has an exterior of granite pillars rising from the crypt
foundations to the eves, creating four nave bays, built of local
stone- Carn Marth Elvan, which has a reddish tinge, and Tregoning
Hill Stone. Inside a marble effect was created using stone from local
mines set in panels and courses and the dressings were local
granite and Wild Duck, or Pencoys, Elvan. The windows in the nave
were designed to record the life of Christ, with glass by Clayton and
Bell, of international repute. The north-west entrance’s bell cote
once held the Treleigh Mine Bell but it was removed in 1938.
The newer, eastern section, designed by R. F. Wheatley of
Truro, consists of three additional bays to the nave, a chancel, the
north transept which houses the organ, a bell tower, and a spire,
removed after being damaged by lightning in 1965. It also includes
the Lady Chapel and Sacristy, below which were a new kitchen and
heating chamber. The use of Carn Marth stone blended with the
earlier external walls but the regular pattern contrasts with their
St. Andrew’s is blessed with many beautiful artefacts, many of
which commemorate individuals or groups who have contributed to
the life of the church and the community. This pamphlet can only list
a few, so do take some time to walk around the church and discover
High Altar: The altar is made of Ham Hill Stone and Delabole Slate.
The carved reredos was the work of Miss V. A. Pinwell, known as
the Grinling Gibbons of the South West and one of many women
whose artistry and craft adorns our church. At the sides of the rood
are statuettes of St. Andrew, St. Euny, St. Christopher, and St.
Ninian. These saints are also represented in the coats of arms: the
cross of St. Andrew, Celtic cross head for St. Euny, ford for St.
Christopher, and three curlews for St. Ninian. Other coats of arms
represent the Province of Canterbury, Dioceses of Exeter and
Truro, and the County of Cornwall. It is worth noting that the Agnus
Dei at the bottom reflects the Redruth tin smelting mark, the ‘Lamb
and Flag’. The glorious window dates from the completion of the
Eastern section and, like so much in St. Andrew’s, combines
Christian and Cornish imagery.
Font: This dates from an earlier part of the building and is made of
Caen stone and marble with a design of fish, a traditional Christian
symbol. Its wooden cover with the cross of St. Andrew was a later
addition, in 1927, to commemorate Vera Chapman who led the
Girl’s Friendly Society in the parish.
Windows: Many of the stained-glass windows, some by renowned
makers including Cole, Clayton and Bell, commemorate
parishioners. It is worth studying each in turn, both to admire the
artistry and to note those commemorated. Try looking for the
surprising range of animals or the expressions of the figures.
Two from the same era are especially poignant. Above the
main entrance a depiction of the wedding at Cana, given by his
parents, honours Guy Grenfell Williams, of the Duke of Cornwall’s
Light Infantry, who died aged 20 at the Battle of Ypres in 1916.
Nearby is a window depicting St. Bartholomew, commemorating the
life and sacrifice of another young man. Helston-born Thomas
Johnson Hill, was Assistant Priest at St. Andrew’s and left in 1917 to
serve as an army chaplain. He returned in 1919 with a silver-gilt
chalice he had used in Flanders, which is still in use today, but
drowned off the coast at Hayle that same year, trying to save a
swimmer. In his 1983 recollections of boyhood in the church,
Everett Pengelly recalled: ’Tom Hill would get through an early
morning Mass in ten minutes flat, with much genuflecting and
beating of his breast’. The memorial to the energetic young chaplain
was funded by ‘his many friends’.
Among the more recent windows, the St. Cecelia reflects the
church’s celebration of the gift and joy of music.
Lady Chapel: this serene space includes a reredos frame by local
craftsman H. J. Paul and a triptych, consisting of a ’Madonna and
Child’ painting brought back from Florence in 1929 by retired mining
consultant Maurice Gregory, with side-panels painted by MorseBrown.
The altar had been used in the main church before the High
Altar was built.
Organ: originally a small harmonium and ‘string band’ accompanied
services until an organ, made by Fleetwood of Camborne, was
placed in the chamber on the then north-east corner. This was
rebuilt and moved to the new north transept in 1938, then remodeled
once more in 1956. Its grand ‘Re-Opening’ concert on
Easter Eve, 1957, featured a recital by F. G. Ormond, Truro
Cathedral Organist. Tickets cost one shilling.
Pulpit: made of oak on a Caen stone and serpentine base,
featuring the four evangelists, and a memorial to Dr R.S. Hudson,
founder member of the church and tireless worker for public health
Lectern: donated in 1884 by Mr. Andrew, one-time mayor of Exeter,
who had attended church and Sunday School in Redruth as a child.
Sacristy Crucifix: this bears a figure of Christ from the Basilica
Church of Notre-Dame-de-Berbiere, Albert, France. It was blown off
the church during bombardment in 1917 and found undamaged in
the rubble, although the cross had been destroyed. It was given to a
British officer by the local townspeople in gratitude for his sharing
rations and other kindnesses. He brought it to his home in Redruth
and it was donated to the church in 1919.
Sanctuary Chair: this Jacobean chair was donated in memory of
Revd. J.W Lane, Rector from 1878 to 1910, and prime mover in the
creation of St. Andrew’s, Redruth.
Dedication of Great War memorial, 17 July 1919.
These are the named clerics with responsibility for St.Andrew’s,
Redruth. There have been many others, clergy and laity, who have
served and sustained successive congregations and community.
Revd. J.W Lane, 1878-1910.
Revd. H.W Sedgwick, 1910-1926.
Revd. Canon W.R Ladd Canney, 1926-1957.
Revd. John Ruscoe, 1957-1970.
Revd. Canon J. W. Wingfield, 1970-1973.
Revd. Canon H. E. Hosking, 1974-1984.
Revd. Graeme Elmore, 1984-1986.
Revd. Canon Michael Simcock, 1986-1989.
Company of Mission Priests, led by Revd. Keith Mitchell,
Revd. Roger Bush, 1993-2003.
Revd. Simon Cade, 2005-14.
Revd. Shirley Harrison, 2011- present.
Revd. Caspar Bush (Rector), 2015- present.
• St. Andrew’s has a strong tradition of building fellowship through
the arts. Dramatic productions by adults and children, choral and
organ recitals and concerts, have always been a feature of the life
of the church, and the modern Arts Festival extends this to include
visual arts and creative writing.
• In the 1880s hand bells were often rung at weddings, when
players flanked the steps up to the North-West door. They were
also rung at Christmas and, sometimes, at gravesides.
• In 1889, the gates at the Clinton Road entrance had to be opened
to help a huge crowd, estimated at many thousands listening to
four-times Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, who spoke
from a platform on the site of the current public library.
• In 1895 an Anglican Football Club started with its headquarters in
the crypt schoolroom.
• Sisters of the Community of the Epiphany, in Truro, played an
active part in the early life of St. Andrew’s, in pastoral and
teaching roles, supporting individual parishioners and groups,
including the Mothers’ Union and the Girls’ Friendly Society.
• In the First World War photographs of members of the
congregation in the armed forces were kept in the church for
remembrance, and prayers for them and for peace across the
world were offered each mid-day.
• During the Second World War, because of the blackout, Evensong
was held in the afternoon in winter and small altar candles offered
the only light for Holy Communion. The crypt was an air-raid
precautions station and warden post. On May 9, 1945, Victory in
Europe Day, the church held a service of thanksgiving for peace,
with floodlights illuminating the church interior into the night.
• The Great War memorial crucifix outside the church, dedicated on
17 July, 1919, was the first to be erected in Cornwall. Those who
fell in the Second World War are commemorated on plaques on
the wooden panelling in the Sanctuary.
• The St. Andrew’s branch of the Church of England Men’s Society
flourished from before 1898 until the Second World War. The
photograph here includes many well-known men of the parish, but
who is the unidentified woman in the front row? If you know her,
please get in touch!
Sources for these brief notes include primary documents and
records, Frank Michell’s account of the church’s history and
architecture, The Centenary of St. Andrew’s Church, Redruth
(Redruth, 1982) and Michael Tangye’s studies of Redruth history.
Photographs are reproduced, with kind permission, from the
collection of Paddy Bradley. Thanks go to Kim Cooper, Principal
Librarian of the Cornish Studies Library, and Ralph Robins and
Kathy Williams of St. Andrew’s, and Ralph Robins, for support in
researching and producing the pamphlet. Please let us know of any
corrections or suggestions.
Thank you for reading.
Dr Tamsin Spargo
Heanton Place, Redruth.